Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

The Arts
by Darryl Martin
Boulder City Arts Council

Is Photography Really Art?
When Vermeer painted "The Girl with the Pearl Earring", he applied paint onto the canvas by stroking the brush down and then pulling it outward at the end of each stroke, creating a dimension to the pearl earring that would reflect light in the room; thus, a pearl earring on canvas that glistens exactly like the highest quality pearl from an ancient oyster. We all agree, this is really art.

How could anyone dare to question the passion, the emotion and the technical ability of Vermeer. However, some did question Vermeer and Leonardo De Vinci, as well, for their use of the "camera obscura", a camera with a lens and a foggy piece of glass in the back. This camera had no film, but was used by the artists of the day to view an image in an obscure two dimensional form to get a better idea of how the image would look on canvas. Now, was that cheating? Some folks thought so, giving birth to the century old question, "Is photography really art?"

As technology progressed, so did the camera, giving rise by the mid 1800s to the "professional photographer". He had the same passion for capturing a moment in time and placing it on a flat surface to be viewed and savored for years to come. He had the same attention to the most minute details, sometimes waiting for days, if not months for the right light to cast the exact shadow on his image. And, he had the same desire as the painter to project his emotion into the image in order to "tell the story". The only difference between the painter and the photographer was the application of the technical aspect of capturing the image - 6 months for the painter verses 1/60th of a second for the photographer. Does this make the photographer less of an artist?

And now technology has presented us with the digital camera, taking this argument one step further: "Is digital photography really photography?" If you don't carry around a 10 lb. lens, are you really a photographer? I wonder what Vermeer would say?

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