Is a Photographer an Artist?

Yes, a photographer is an artist. It hasn't always been that way, but photography has changed in many ways. Both are trying to create a finished product that will appeal to the viewer. A photographer analyzes what they are looking at and captures it with the camera. An artist on the other hand creates an image in their head and turns it into art.  A photographer has only one chance to capture the moment and then it is lost forever. An artist once they have created an image in their mind, can make several attempts to finalize their work.

Even with new high-tech cameras, it takes more than a camera to make a photographer and not every photographer is an artist.  One of the arguments as to whether photography is an art form is that anyone can do it.  Really?  One does not have to have a formal education.  Buy a camera and now you are a photographer.  Not!  To be a great photographer, one must know the Elements of Composition.  Both artists and photographers need to be creative and have an imagination.  John Muir said, "The power of imagination makes us infinite."  When a painter looks at the canvas, they imagine what the finished picture will look like.  A photographer looks at a subject then they imagine how they can capture the moment and make it better.  Color, negative space, symmetry and patterns are all compositions used by a painter and a photographer.  One uses a brush and one a camera.  They are both considered artists.

My Take on Photography

"Every artist has a central story to tell, and the difficulty, the impossible task, is trying to present that story in pictures."

Gregory Crewdson

Photography is an art, and the photographer is the artist.  There are those that will say this isn't true, however I have to disagree.  Both must have a passion for what they do, along with creativity and a good imagination.  A photographer only has one time to capture a photo then that moment is gone forever, and it can't be recreated.

When I am framing a shot, I examine every possible angle i can shoot it from, then decide what I want the viewer to see.  It requires an eye for detail, patience, and flexibility.  Light is a key composition and can greatly affect the photo.  In a studio one can use artificial light but in nature one must learn to use what light is available.

The subject must excite me.  If I'm not excited, I can't expect the viewer to be excited.  The photo has to excite the viewer and get their attention.  They must not only "look" at the picture, but they also have to "see" it.  

A good photographer uses the elements of composition.  They are light, color, contrast and tone, line, form, pattern, balance, movement, positive and negative space, texture, camera position, focal length, depth of field, and shutter speed.  they all will affect the photography.  There is so much more involved than point and shoot.