Is photography really fine art, or not?

While it has been pretty much established that aspects of photography can be considered fine art, much like paintings and sculptures and drawings and installations in museums and art galleries, the argument of whether it is or not, is still raging.

Here is one example of an argument that says it's not fine art.


"Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras, when the most beguiling high-definition images and effects are available to millions. My iPad can take panoramic views that are gorgeous to look at. Does that make me an artist? No, it just makes my tablet one hell of a device."

And here is an argument refuting it, saying it is fine art.


"Several things are wrong about Jonathan’s reasoning, not least that he still thinks painting is in some sort of competition with photography. How quaint. He also seems to think that all photography is derivative of painting. This is plainly not so. A great photograph by William Eggleston, though he claims to be influenced by abstract painting, occupies its own space, makes its own rules.

"Jonathan writes that photographs look better on a computer screen than in a print. Some do, but most do not. Has he never stood in wonder in front of a Julia Margaret Cameron portrait? I doubt it. Has he ever seen a painting or drawing of Samuel Beckett that possesses the stillness and intensity of the great photographic portrait of Samuel Beckett by John Minihan or Jane Bown? I expect not.

"He makes no distinction between types of photography, and seems unaware, that photography has changed utterly since Henri Cartier-Bresson. Look at the politically charged conceptualism of Broomberg and Chanarin, the playful invention of a fictional series by Joan Fontcuberta, the wonderful artists books made by the likes of Cristina de Middel or Viviane Sassen. Photography is as vibrant as it has ever been - more so in response to the digital world, which Jonathan mistakenly thinks has made everyone a great photographer. It hasn’t. It has made it easy for people to take – and disseminate – photographs, that’s all. A great photographer can make a great photograph whatever the camera. A bad one will still make a bad photograph on a two grand digital camera that does everything for you. It’s about a way of seeing, not technology."

So, what do you think? Fine art or not?