What is Art?

Even before the Impressionists challenged the accepted rules of painting, photographers struggled to have their work accepted as art. One hundred and fifty years later, we accept photography as a medium that can be used to create art, but usually isn’t. What makes one photograph different from another? Why are billions of photographs not art but yet thousands are? ChatGPT provides a concise explanation:

Photography can be considered art, as it is a medium of visual expression that involves creativity, technical skill, and aesthetic judgment. Like other art forms, photography can convey emotions, tell a story, capture a moment in time, and evoke a particular mood or atmosphere. Photographers use their artistic vision and technical abilities to create images that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also meaningful and thought-provoking. […]

but whether a particular photograph is considered art depends on the intention, creativity, and aesthetic value of the photographer.

I like this answer, because the last clause summarizes my personal definition of art:

Art is any action intended by the performer, or any object intended by the creator to convey emotion, tell a story, capture a moment, or evoke a mood.

There are two consequences of this definition that are worth mentioning:

  • Only the performer or creator can tell if a performance or object is art.
  • Nobody else can say whether something is art; only whether they like it or not.

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