Photography: Art or Technology?

Ever since a French painter by the name of Louis Jacques Maude Daguerre invented the camera in 1839, mankind learned to freeze time on a plate of glass and felt like a magician. Few pioneers chose this new discovery as a means to make their living, carried their magic boxes, tripods and chemicals and traveled across continents. They mixed their own secret formulas and flash powders and worked hard under very difficult conditions, risking their lives, purely to capture and doucment special occasions and historical moments.

Years later, George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, and other entrepreneurs simplified this magic by introducing the box camera, thus making it possible for thousands of people to freeze their special moments in life. the transformation of photography from just recording an event to art form took less time than any other new invention in history. It was debated from its infancy whether photography would replace the art of painting. Today many still ask: Is photography art or technology? Is it used as tool for self-expression?

The technology apparatus used in today's photographic equipment is so advanced that it doesn't require much talent to capture a pleasing image. However, to create a photograph that is emotional, spiritual or intellectual, experience is indeed an art. The person who creates these images is called an artist.

We all know that many creative artists used the camera not only as a tool, but actually applied photography in their art. Innovative artists such as Andy Warhol's use of photography, as well as the silk screen, created his unique art. Another 20th Century artist, David Hockney, used the camera instead of oil on canvas to express his thoughts and feelings. Today,  many photographers look upon their profession as more than just freezing time by recording an event in history, they are exploring their skills and tools to make their statements in art.

Orson Welles, who was a painter as well as a director, producer, writer and actor, once said: "ART IS ILLUSION."

If we accept photography as an art form we should also accept certain photographs as illusions. For an artist to create and achieve an illusion, he or she may use many different tools and tricks (paint and brush, hammer and chisel, or camera and film).

Based upon this belief, I have spent endless time experimenting and developing a concept of integrating two art forms. The use of photography equipment to achieve the visual images of oil on canvas is the result of my work, which I call ILLUSIONS.

© 2012 Avedis Art. New York, NY