Photography as an art form?

The other day I took part in a one-sided conversation, where I was the one doing the listening while he did the talking … as usual. But I digress; anyhow the topic was whether or not photography is considered a true art form. He concluded that it was not entirely an art form but provided reasons as to why, he believed, it wasn't. With soccer moms picking up cameras, point-and-shooting, and later printing out the images or sending them off to Walgreen's or H-E-B to develop — he believes that such a easy to use object such as the camera may have lost its artistic quality when everyone and their mothers can frame a picture and call it art.

This is where I step in … I've taken a handful of art classes throughout my high school and college career thus; I have little knowledge of the subject. However, with my limited knowledge of photography (a few months back I took a photography course that I daydreamed during much of it rather than learn a suitable amount of information) I believe that photography is an art form — when the artist takes it seriously. The same reasoning applies to painting, sculpture, digital imaging and so forth. Most people can obtain the tools to create art but not all people possess the skill needed to label it as art.

Photography is definitely questionable when it comes to the national art community as can be found in this interesting essay by portrait photographer Robert Balcomb. With B&W photography being the norm, color photography being the shunned stepchild, and digital imaging coming out into the spotlight the photography community is forever battling its place in the art world. Any comments on this issue? If so— post!
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