Galleries and frames are enclosures that protect and improve the display of art. So, for your greatest enjoyment, frame your most beautiful images and they'll endure and reward you forever.
- The reality of art and the art of reality...
- Visual artists create "art objects" to expand our reality while artistic photographers add artistry to better portray our reality.
When photography was first announced in 1839, its ability to simulate spacial reality on flat surface caused critics to declare the art of painting to be "dead." What followed almost immediately was a bitter criticism by art critics of the finest painters when they painted exceedingly well-done realistic images. It seems these critics felt the paintings had now become as "dull as photographs" or "as mindless of as the photographic camera." This spurred the more experimental painters who eventually took another path that now gives us "Modern Art." The debate actually continues, however. Today, there are those who believe strongly that photography — along with realistic paintings that depict real life — offer far more value than any of the modern artists' "expressionistic" rantings in paint or other media.
There is no argument, of course, that modern art was definitely different than any artwork created over the thousands of years that had come before. But does this make photography any less of an art? Well, it seems to have been so in the first 60 years of photography's existence. During that period, a photographer wasn't considered to be an artist, only a technician in a lab coat. In fact, photographers were judged according to how clean and smooth they could make an emulsion on a metal or glass plate for use as a negative in the camera.
In the last decade of the 1800s Kodak gave the public "roll film" and some very simple cameras anyone could use. Suddenly, photography was no longer just for the professionals. It also meant that "everyone" was becoming a photographer and that broadened the interest in photography and experimentation with its materials and equipment. And so, by the first decade of the 20th Century there was a movement to create artistic photography in the form of "the painterly photograph," a multiply exposed image made during the printing process on paper that could give the image a ghost-like softness and a handcrafted brush and pencil stroke appearance.
It wasn't until the photographer Ansel Adams, working in the 1930s, studied Kodak's film chemistry and created a system for assisting the photographer to control the darknesses of an image during the developing and printing processes that photography came into its own as an "artistic medium." His Zone-System was like the painter's brush in that it allowed a photographer the freedom to change his mind about being the classic photo-lab technician and become more "artistic." He or she could now manipulate the image without having to double expose extra images together to create the hybrid painterly photograph of the past, but could now create an art that was 100% pure photography in a single printed image that expressed reality with all the strength that we experience it in real life.
Of course, most people prefer their photography to be realistic and only enhanced artistically, not distorted into becoming an "art object" per se. And, with portraiture, most want to see an image featuring a truly artistic reality rather than a realistic image distorted into an "expression."