Art is ever present throughout humanity. from the early cave paintings to van gogh’s starry night, humans have always had the urge to create and experience art. our society and culture is one of the main ways art is refined and defined and also the way it is created and experienced; but never has the change been so dramatic as our current culture. the choice tool of the artist; paint brush, paper and pen has been traded in for a camera and the spacey galleries confined to the screen of a smartphone.
conventional art is declining. the percentage of people that go out specifically to view art is falling. According to a survey on public participation by the National Endowment for the Arts “one out of every three Americans, or about 78 million people, visited an art exhibition or attended a performing arts event in 2012. That figure represents a drop across the board since the last survey in 2008” 1*
there could be many contributing factors to the decline of conventional art. one factor may be that due to the technological advances of our society, media is so accessible and so instantaneous in our daily lives that you can get a stream of art by means of your smartphone via designated apps (Instagram) which service that exact desire; and with 80 percent of young adults owning a smartphone in USA alone (*2) even the spectrum for the viewers of art has changed. it is no longer confined to a room, walls and those in the loop. now everyone with a smartphone can experience art, instantly, without having to leave their home.
So how is this changing art? Well because the device used for viewing art is also the device used for creating art. Cameras are widely available now; with cameras being on every smartphone on the market and with all of the cameras being good quality, and easy to use. shoot and click! “Richard Koci Hernandez has over 20 years of experience as a photojournalist, but fell in love with the iPhone and the ability to instantly share and connect with people who appreciate his work.” *3
Another factor is the ease of use to take good quality photos. A professional photographer quoted on his article on reddit “You know what? You could learn everything I know in a few months. Maybe less if you really focus on it. That’s it. My knowledge, my experiences, all of it- from professional sports to weddings to news to feature to product to portraits.. A few goddamn months.” *4. so now anyone with a smartphone can take good photos, broadening the field of people who can now express themselves in a visual form but were not learned enough to paint. the fact that they are all using photography as their medium of art, gives common ground and relation between this new influx of photographers, creating a culture and forum for photography; with it now becoming one of the most popular way of artistic expression. with more then 75 million people who use instagram on a daily basis, and 300 million a month. *5 thus using the power of the mainstream to push popular opinion of art more to photography,changing the mainstream medium in which art is expressed and having the technological advantage of being able to capture, share and view the artwork, instantly, on one device, anywhere in the world. making the feed ever expanding. and it shows
A four-year-old app is dominating the art conversation as no purely art-related topic is. To explain the craze, this Google Trends graph is probably all you need: *6 Google Trends graph comparing “Instagram” and “art.” “Search Term” includes related searches such as “nail art” and “Instagram followers;”
So can photography be called art? to take good photos could be argued requires “an eye for it”. so the means of taking the photo is easy, but you have to sieve through the thousands of scenes, objects and angles you see everyday and pick out the special shots hidden amongst the mountains of the mundane. so it isn’t just a depiction of your surroundings and reality, but of how an individual perceives reality. expressing your own views. such is art
“The Oil’s Painting”
(Shot with a mobile phone) *7
and also yes a photo is 5 seconds but so can the time frame you have to take a good shot; meaning that there is skill involved such as the ability and techniques of painting, but it is condensed to one, quick opportunity to be captured and in the best way possible
Colours Come Together
(Shot with a mobile phone) *7
as a counter to the rise of photography, it can be argued that painting has its own niche that could never be replaced by other means of art, no matter how far technology advances our culture
with painting you can express yourself in entirety, limited only by your imagination and talent. giving a vast array of opportunities of things to be created and expressed
paintings has more personality to both the artist and the viewer. the feel that someone put into creating a piece with the creative process of thought and toil to create an inspirational vision that you want to express; with emotion and feel which can be seen in the piece itself. “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”*8
Painted by Karoliina Kökkö
but as said earlier, it’s a lot easier to learn, create and share photography than it is for painting. Meaning that more people choose photography, and it seems that in our society of instant feed, and with the majority of people choosing a camera over a paint brush, painting may be too slow, infrequent and too esoteric to progress with the fast pace stream of instant sharing this modern, technological, society requires.
But can photography really replace the void that it creates by overcoming painting? usually photography is a shot of something you see that inspires you to take a photo. meaning the inspiration is drawn in from your surroundings and is usually spontaneous (other then photo shoots, but they require more aspects such as money, studio and lighting and usually a professional camera, which is more then the average instagrammer has, their main device being a smartphone, for shooting and sharing. IPhoneography *3 *9), being something that immediately catches your attention rather then having inspiration that has been brewing inside you that you created into form; which results in the basis of your art being limited to your reality and surroundings and cannot be as deeply or freely expressive as painting
(Shot with a mobile phone) *7
so in the end, photography and indeed technology has opened up a great new world for art. it has made it so more people get to see creativity and art in their daily lives and that self expression is more widespread than just people who are talented enough to creatively paint, which in turn opens up the possibility of even more styles, perspectives and genres of art to influence, entertain and progress the next generation of new creation. but because the means and methods of sharing, viewing and creating it are so easy, have we in turn disavowed old, more learned art which can’t keep up with our fast paced modern culture but does what a photograph cannot…