Sat Apr 2023

Photography as Art*

These delicate images of the Thalia Jonquil were recorded at 4:50 pm on April 30, 2011. They reveal the soft, luminous quality of late afternoon light at this time of year. A long, nuanced tonal range is achieved in the image, all the way from pure white at the tip of the corona (or “horn” of the flower) to pure black inside the corona. Light of this quality — what I call glancing light — gives the artist great expressive opportunities. (See my recent post on Glancing Light.)

This gives me a segue to the larger issue of photography as art. It’s surprising how often people resist this notion. Photography is not interpretive: it merely records. I hear that muddled assumption all too often.

“Records what?” I ask. After all, reality is infinitely complex, and to record we must select. Therein lies the art. What we select reveals a great deal about ourselves and how we see the world. This is true for the photojournalist as well as for the photographer aspiring to art.