How much “art” is in photography?

We all know that photography falls under the arts when fitting the term into categories.  However, if anybody liked my work as a photographer, I would be taken back a bit if I heard the heard the word artist used in any description of me. I do have a creative bug in me, but it’s not the same as someone that can draw, paint, or sculpt.

Since art is so loose of a term, let’s call it something else.  Magic.  We often call things beyond our understanding, magic.  

I call stuff beyond explanation, magic.  

How much art magic is in my images?  None.  

I have a confession.  It’s all technical.  It’s pragmatic, it’s ideal and it’s logical.  

We photographers try with all our might to convey an emotion in a 2D image.  An image that doesn’t have sound, doesn’t move, completely dumb and lifeless in itself.  And yet, people expect magic.  We give it to them.  Even if it means staying up until the late hours with bloodshot eyes, caffeine jitters and several curse words. 

It means cleaning up clutters, acne, distracting backgrounds, taking out a hotspot, easing up the shadows.  Then it’s the mood elements.  Colors, contrast, soften/sharpen, etc.

Blue means somber, sad, melancholy.  Increased contrast means drama.  I could go on.  But there are psychologists and others that have PhD’s permanently attached to their name that figured this out a long time ago.  It’s all about the human eye gravitating towards something in a consistent manner.

Totally technical, totally not magical.

I’m not saying it’s all done here, in front of the computer.  Because it really starts at the shutter button.  Composition, exposure, blah blah blah.  We all know that.

But no matter how much progress I make when finding the magic, it’s going to kick my ass.  Repeatedly.

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