On my morning walk, I often listen to podcasts, including This Week in Photo. TWiP 393 was entitled Is Photography Art? and was prompted by a piece by Jonathan Jones published in The Guardian: The $6.5m canyon: it's the most expensive photograph ever – but it's like a hackneyed poster in a posh hotel.
As it happens, I largely agree with the title of the piece - but I can't agree with Jones on much else.
He begins with the following:
Photography is not an art. It is a technology. We have no excuse to ignore this obvious fact in the age of digital cameras, when the most beguiling high-definition images and effects are available to millions. My iPad can take panoramic views that are gorgeous to look at. Does that make me an artist? No, it just makes my tablet one hell of a device.
What a load of rubbish!
Of course, much of this ridiculous debate hangs on the question of "what is art"? For my part, for an object to qualify as art, it must meet at least three of the following criteria:
On that basis, great photography is art.
On the other hand, a good deal of the "art" over which the likes of Jonathan Jones wet themselves at regular intervals is not art. It requires no skill, it lacks aesthetics - and the only emotion that arises in this viewer is rage.
The story of the emperor's new clothes is something that we should all bear constantly in mind - particularly those pretentious individuals writing in newspapers and running art galleries, who deign to tell we lesser mortals what is art.
Have a good one.