Photography And Art


     For
many years photography has been used to document the most significant of events,
whether they affect an entire society, like a war, or a specific persons' life,
such as a wedding. The reason that photography is used for such occasions
instead of painting, drawing or sculpting is quite simple. It is because
photography is the most remarkable of the fine arts. Other forms of art, are
aesthetically pleasing and important in their own rite, but photography is so
monumental because of the power that only it possesses. This is the power to
depict fact. One aspect that makes photography so creditable is that it can show
feeling and emotion so much more vividly and doubtlessly than a drawing can. For
instance, during the Great Depression "the harsh realities were recorded
thanks to the initiative of the Farm Security Administration (Daval, 186)."

At this time, Dorothea Lange "documented the bitter poverty of migrant
workers and their families (20th Century Photography, 1). These images, such as

Migrant Mother and Cotton Picker near Firebrough, show, so clearly and almost
effortlessly, the pain and despair that was occurring too frequently at this
time. There is a loss of hope that is so clear and evident in these photographs
from the longing in the eyes of the images shown. Such raw emotion is hard to
come by in any other art form. Another reason photography is more trustworthy
than other forms of art, is because the image that appears in a photograph,
whether it is of a person or an event, has at one point existed or happened.

This statement does not always hold true for paintings, sculptures, and
drawings. It is simple and usual for an artist to conjure up an image of a
person that has never existed and turn them into a work of art. For example,
there has been a great deal of speculation about whether or not Leonardo Da

Vinci's Mona Lisa is a portrait of a real person. Before the relatively recent
technological advances, it was not possible to have a picture of a person or an
incident that was fictitious. A further example that photography is perceived as
more realistic than other methods of art, is that it is possible for an artist
to elaborate, emphasize, erase, or even completely change an image that they are
trying to capture. Once again, preceding modern advances, this was not possible
for a photographer to do. Based on this, and the preceding statement, throughout
history viewers have been able to trust that the images they were seeing were
genuine, and therefore were able to trust the realism of photographs. Over the
years, photography came to be depended on for its ability to show factual images
for the reasons stated earlier. Proof of this statement, is the great demand for
photographs in magazines and newspapers. "The newspaper and newsmagazine
depended on his (a professional photo-reporter's) pictures, even more than on
the written word. They were an international language of communication, the one
language needing no translation (Daval, 190)." The rise of photojournalism
made the public even more believing of photography and "the status of the
photograph: from a document before, it now became evidence, irrefutable proof (Daval,

173)."

Bibliography

Daval, Jean-Luc. Photography: History of an Art . New York: Rizzoli

International Publications Inc. , 1982. 20th Century Photography: http://www.masters-of-
photography. com/L/lange/lange_articles1.html Dorothea Lange Photographs.
http://www.masters-of-photography. com/L/lange/lange_migrant_mother_full.html