What characteristics of photography would qualify it as one of the arts?
Some critics say that photography shouldn’t be considered one of the arts, that it is just a documentary record. What do you think?
The photographer is making artistic choices that make photography far more than a documentary effort. For one, the selection of what to photograph is an artistic choice, just as much as choosing what the subject of a novel is going to be. Composition is also part of an art form, and the photographer is making composition choices, either by arrangement, by deciding what the focal point of a photograph is going to be, by deciding what shall be included or eliminated from a scene. Another artistic choice is the decision to use color photography or black and white photography, each of which creates a different kind of artistic effect. Still other choices that are within the realm of the artistic are the sorts of filters one uses to create various effects and the decision to create a closeup or not. Photographers can also choose their lighting effects, to create more or fewer shadows, and they are able to emphasize background, foreground, or middle ground in their photographs, for example blurring a background and keeping a foreground in sharp focus. In other words, the photographer, while he or she is photographing something that already exists, is truly creating a picture of his or her own design. And that is what art is!