Photography in Art the First

It was an overall experience that modern life was more and more broken along the lines of the public and private as also the rising speed of industrial society. Photomontage and photo collage along with their blending of typography and photographic pictures generates expression to these conditions while extending photography beyond what had come to be fine art photographys confines and convention. Although believed as radical, these ingenuities were premised on the trade secrets of the latter part of 19th century work of commercial photographers that included double-exposure, timed exposures and dark-room procedures like masking, burning and dodging. The major differences between the initial manipulation of images and those of the 20th century professional photographers and artists remained that the latter stressed its fracture rendering it obvious that the photographic images are all the time a construct. (Peres, 184)

Scholars understand that the earliest photograph of a work of art constitutes an important document, mainly to mean the present state, maybe prior to restoration of a work of art. The “subjective” characteristic of both black and white and color photography nevertheless would seem to be an vague quality veiled in a blur of photo science. Examination of the history of photography of individual media like architecture, painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and graphic arts will each render their independent stories. Therefore the stories of photography of art in Germany, France, Britain and Italy are all idiosyncratic of a several political, social, economic and historical causes. (Roberts, 90)

Walter Benjamin in his essay had observed that even though the knowledge of reproducibility of artworks has been there for a long time through engraving, etching, stamping etc., with the arrival of photography, detail reproduction was speeded up with the least endeavor. He has also analyzed the impact of the reproduction of artworks and the art of film, on art in its conventional form. He is absolutely right when he regards the impact of photography on art as central as compared to the impact of art on photography even though the latter is also vital. He reasoned that the work of art is differentiated from a reproduction by the here and now of the artwork. The original is genuine. He is right when he states that photographic reproduction does not amount to forgery, as it has the potential to divulge details that are not discernable to the human eye, and has the potential to put the artwork in perspectives that are beyond reach. Mass existence removes the genuine object from the field of convention. (the work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility)

Again, Benjamin makes an important observation in that the reproduction of an artwork is not similar to the original. As a matter of fact, sometimes details are never divulged, or a lot of details get unnoticed. The quality of the artwork is distinct from the photograph. It has to be noted here that Benjamin selects here to contemplate of photography of art, and not of photography in its own. He regards the artwork as capable of being reproduction through photography, and focuses on the difference between the reproduction and the original, recognizing originality and the impression of the artwork as individuality which gets missing during the course of reproduction. Impression and genuineness are indistinct ideas according to Benjamin which he relates them with an old viewpoint regarding art wherein a Master recognizes a particular contribution of art, and gleans the just needed magic on a canvas. The most vital argument at this point remains that photographs are capable of reproduction, regardless of their application.

It is one of the most vital features, applied just to the reproducible reproduction of a work of art. Hence, it follows that Benjamin is solely interested with a special application of photography for example his art. (the work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility)

The respect for genuine art is one again obvious in the account of what photographical reproduction contributes to artwork. Maybe, to render the transition greater clarity, Benjamin deliberately overstates the point of initial start. Nevertheless, that is not needed and points to an extremely older view on art. It is a fact that idolizing art prevents us from genuinely enjoying the same. Sometimes we desire to come very near and are deeply engrossed by the artwork and get swayed by its sheer mastery. Besides, linking repeatability to its transitory nature does not convey scanty meaning, nor does linking art to eternity convey meaning, even though it is a characteristic error. The distinctiveness of the work of art is determined by its foundation in ritual. Art in the era of reproducibility is transformed. Ritual is put forth as a precondition for art. In the absence of ritual, art comes to be a goal in and of it. (the work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility)

Nevertheless, there is nothing incorrect and art has taken its independency of ritual, and that it warranted doing such. Maybe, when photographs were less extensively spread over, they possessed cult value similar to majority of the objects that are. Nevertheless, they are all the while idyllically appropriate for exhibition, and they continue to be such, even the oldest pieces. This brings us to the imminent question: Is photography/film an art? However, in the changing dynamics of photography in art, this must change into “has photography transformed art?” Definitely, it is a fact that we should not ask if photography is an art due to a lot of reasons. The technological ingenuity essential photography and film transformed our vision, and people must take the description of new categories to deal with its dawning, in place of attempting to fit them into an old dictionary. Nevertheless, it is also inadequate to question the manner in which photography as a process of reproduction has transformed art. It has transformed art in increasingly severe methods compared to as a means of reproduction. First of all, this is because photography has become an important visual performance within itself with which art is indebted to build a new relationship. (the work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility)


Benjamin, Walter. The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility.

Eisinger, Joel. Trace and Transformation: American Criticism of Photography in the Modernist Period. University of New Mexico Press. 1995.

Freeman, Nikki. A brief evolution or art and the influence of technology on photography.

June, 2006.

N.A. Photography and Art. 2005.

N.A. The influence of art in design.

N.A. Through the Eye of the Camera: 19th and 20th century photography from the Royal & Sun Alliance Collection. 2004.

Peres, Michael R. The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: Digital Imaging, Theory and Focal Press. 2007.

Roberts, Helene E. Art History through the Cameras Lens.

Routledge. 1995..

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