Friday, October 29, 2010

Photography: Is it an art or a science?

Never underestimate the value of new social media.  I don't. Love it or loathe it, social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, fosters community, connecting us with friends and neighbors near and far ~ and sometimes, it connects us with others sharing a common interest.  At times, it can even be thought provoking.

Each week on Facebook, London's Tate Modern poses thought-provoking questions in its weekly "Thursday Tate Debate." Although most of the community who participate in this weekly forum are from Great Britain, occasionally, international respondents contribute to the discussion, from near and far ~ covering many, if not most, European Union countries as well as across the pond in the United States, closer to home.  I have participated in a couple of these discussions.

As someone who has visited the Tate Modern, Britain's national gallery of international modern art, several times (it's located on the South Bank of the Thames and is connected to central London and St. Paul's Cathedral via the Millennium Bridge), I appreciate their regular use of new social media as a means of fostering a community sharing an appreciation for art.

This week's debate topic centered on photography, a casual hobby of mine: "Do you think photography is more of an art or a science?"

I posted the following response:  "I think today's use modern digital photography raises the bar for art versus science. Certainly, photography is art because of the use of color and emotion.  Yet, the editing process (in digital photography) allows for science to be a part of the process.  It's a great debate."

Afterward, I started to think about my own photography and the great debate question.  As many of you know, I am fond of photographing our home gardens ~ roses, camellias, rhododendrons, fuchsia and calla lilies ~ often, to create greeting cards for family and friends.

Yesterday, I browsed through a variety of photographs I've shot this year ~ and there were many ~ and found a calla lily that in my opinion can be a catalyst in the debate.  When shown in its natural colors, I think of this photograph of a calla lily as art. However, when I digitally edit the photograph to eliminate its natural color, changing it to black and white, my focus shifts toward thinking of this photograph as a product of science at work.

In color: Calla lily, 2010
In black and white: Calla lily, 2010

Photography:  Is is an art or a science?  I welcome your thoughts and comments.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photograph Michael, whether black and white or color! I polled some of the members of my family about "Photography: Is is an art or a science?" and our son Josh said, "Both." And, interestingly enough, Stan gave a 2 hour talk last night at a local photo club about the history of Photography. I went to listen for the review... So, when I asked Stan, he said: Since seeing depends on craftsmanship and craftsmanship depends on seeing, then some part of photography depends on balancing both. The art? -- As for me, I would say it is art, since I believe many things (ordinary things even) are art, and we can all be "artists" at what we choose to do best. Thanks for the post!