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What is art?

Art, at its simplest, is a form of communication. It means whatever it is intended to

mean by the artist and this meaning is shaped by the materials, techniques, and
forms of the art, as well as the ideas and feelings it creates.

Art can be defined a way of communicating with others. Any creation when connects
or communicates to the person involved is referred as an art.

Art can also be referred as a vehicle for expressions or of emotions which drives the
person deep inside him and acknowledge him about the truth. As it is wisely quoted
that "We have our Arts so we wont die of Truth."- Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Art gives us an inner sight of ourselves and makes us think deep to know the truth.

Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate from one
person to another.

There are various types of arts such as ceramics, drawing, sculpture, architecture,
printmaking, painting, electronic media such as computer and digital graphics, visual
design, graphic design, collage, photography and post-modern appropriation and re-

Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its reflection of life), expression,

communication of emotion, or other qualities. During the Romantic period, art came
to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and
science. Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed
over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill
stemming from human agency and creation.

The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are
explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics


My topic is night photography. So firstly what is photography?

Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by

recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a
light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of
an image sensor. Typically, a lens is used to focus the light reflected or emitted from
objects into a real image on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a
timed exposure. The result in an electronic image sensor is an electrical charge at
each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a digital image file for
subsequent display or processing.
The result in a photographic emulsion is an invisible latent image, which is later
chemically developed into a visible image, either negative or positive depending on
the purpose of the photographic material and the method of processing. A negative
image on film is traditionally used to photographically create a positive image on a
paper base, known as a print, either by using an enlarger or by contact printing.
Photography, unlike its predecessors of fine art, is a relatively new medium. From
the birth of the daguerreotype in the late 1830s, photography has proved to be one
of the most useful tools for accurate representation and portrayal of a subject.
However, not all people welcomed the camera when it first appeared. For example, a
German newspaper report in the Leipzig City Advertiser once stated: "The wish to
capture evanescent reflections is... blasphemy. God created man in His own image,
and no man-made machine may fix the image of God . Despite those who rallied
against it, it wasnt too long after this invention that some people proclaimed the
death of painting with the birth of photography. This speculation was quickly
exhausted as peoples initial excitement surrounding its birth began to settle. By the
second half of the nineteenth century, photographys novelty was beginning to wear
off, and some people began to question whether the camera was too precise and
meticulous in what it recorded. Despite the many photographers who declared the
lofty status of photography, many critics questioned its legitimacy as a fine art form.


Night photography refers to photographs taken outdoors between dusk and dawn.
Night photographers generally have a choice between using artificial light and using
a long exposure, exposing the scene for seconds, minutes, and even hours in order
to give the film or digital sensor enough time to capture a usable image. With the
progress of high-speed films, higher-sensitivity digital image sensors, wide-aperture
lenses, and the ever-greater power of urban lights, night photography is increasingly
possible using available light.


Celestial bodies

The moon, stars, planets, etc.

City skylines


Factories and industrial areas, particularly those that are brightly lit and are emitting
smoke or vapour


Nightlife or rock concerts


Streets with or without cars

Abandoned buildings and artificial structures that are lit only by moonlight

Bodies of water that are reflecting moonlight or city lights

Lakes, rivers, canals, etc.


Amusement rides


The following techniques and equipment are generally used in night photography.

A tripod is usually necessary due to the long exposure times. Alternatively, the
camera may be placed on a steady, flat object e.g. a table or chair, low wall, window
sill, etc.

A shutter release cable or self-timer is almost always used to prevent camera shake
when the shutter is released.

Manual focus, since autofocus systems usually operate poorly in low light conditions.
Newer digital cameras incorporate a Live View mode which often allows very
accurate manual focusing.

A stopwatch or remote timer, to time very long exposures where the camera's bulb
setting is used.

Photographers control the camera and lens to "expose" the light recording material
(such as film) to the required amount of light to form a "latent image" (on film)
or RAW file (in digital cameras) which, after appropriate processing, is converted to a
usable image. Digital cameras use an electronic image sensor based on light-
sensitive electronics such as charge-coupled device (CCD) or complementary metal-
oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology. The resulting digital image is stored
electronically, but can be reproduced on paper or film.


The camera (or 'camera obscura') is a dark room or chamber from which, as far as
possible, all light is excluded except the light that forms the image. The subject being
photographed, however, must be illuminated. Cameras can range from small to very
large, a whole room that is kept dark while the object to be photographed is in
another room where it is properly illuminated. This was common for reproduction
photography of flat copy when large film negatives were used (see Process camera).

As soon as photographic materials became "fast" (sensitive) enough for taking

candid or surreptitious pictures, small "detective" cameras were made, some actually
disguised as a book or handbag or pocket watch (the Ticka camera) or even worn
hidden behind an Ascot necktie with a tie pin that was really the lens.

The movie camera is a type of photographic camera which takes a rapid sequence
of photographs on strips of film. In contrast to a still camera, which captures a single
snapshot at a time, the movie camera takes a series of images, each called a
"frame". This is accomplished through an intermittent mechanism. The frames are
later played back in a movie projector at a specific speed, called the "frame rate"
(number of frames per second). While viewing, a person's eyes and brain merge the
separate pictures together to create the illusion of motion.

When the correct equipment is used such as a tripod and shutter release cable, the
photographer can use long exposures to photograph images of light. For example,
when photographing a subject try switching the exposure to manual and selecting
the bulb setting on the camera. Once this is achieved trip the shutter and photograph
your subject moving a flashlight or any small light in various patterns. Experiment
with this outcome to produce artistic results. Multiple attempts are usually needed to
produce a desired result

Camera controls

In all but certain specialized cameras, the process of obtaining a usable exposure
must involve the use, manually or automatically, of a few controls to ensure the
photograph is clear, sharp and well illuminated. The controls usually include but are
not limited to the following:

Control Description

The position of a viewed object or the adjustment of an optical device

necessary to produce a clear image: in focus; out of focus.

Aperture Adjustment of the lens opening, measured as f-number, which controls

the amount of light passing through the lens. Aperture also has an effect
on depth of field and diffraction the higher the f-number, the smaller
the opening, the less light, the greater the depth of field, and the more
the diffraction blur. The focal length divided by the f-number gives the


effective aperture diameter.

Adjustment of the speed (often expressed either as fractions of seconds

or as an angle, with mechanical shutters) of the shutter to control the
amount of time during which the imaging medium is exposed to light for
each exposure. Shutter speed may be used to control the amount of
light striking the image plane; 'faster' shutter speeds (that is, those of
shorter duration) decrease both the amount of light and the amount of
image blurring from motion of the subject and/or camera.

On digital cameras, electronic compensation for the color

temperature associated with a given set of lighting conditions, ensuring
that white light is registered as such on the imaging chip and therefore
that the colors in the frame will appear natural. On mechanical, film-
based cameras, this function is served by the operator's choice of film
stock or with color correction filters. In addition to using white balance to
register natural coloration of the image, photographers may employ
white balance to aesthetic end, for example white balancing to a blue
object in order to obtain a warm color temperature.

Measurement of exposure so that highlights and shadows are exposed

according to the photographer's wishes. Many modern cameras meter
and set exposure automatically. Before automatic exposure, correct
exposure was accomplished with the use of a separate light metering
Metering device or by the photographer's knowledge and experience of gauging
correct settings. To translate the amount of light into a usable aperture
and shutter speed, the meter needs to adjust for the sensitivity of the
film or sensor to light. This is done by setting the "film speed" or ISO
sensitivity into the meter.

Traditionally used to "tell the camera" the film speed of the selected film
on film cameras, ISO speeds are employed on modern digital cameras
as an indication of the system's gainfrom light to numerical output and
to control the automatic exposure system. The higher the ISO number
ISO speed the greater the film sensitivity to light, whereas with a lower ISO
number, the film is less sensitive to light. A correct combination of ISO
speed, aperture, and shutter speed leads to an image that is neither too
dark nor too light, hence it is 'correctly exposed', indicated by a centered

Autofocus On some cameras, the selection of a point in the imaging frame upon


which the auto-focus system will attempt to focus. Many Single-lens
point reflex cameras (SLR) feature multiple auto-focus points in the

Many other elements of the imaging device itself may have a pronounced effect on
the quality and/or aesthetic effect of a given photograph; among them are:

Focal length and type of lens (normal, long focus, wide

angle, telephoto, macro, fisheye, or zoom)

Filters placed between the subject and the light recording material, either in
front of or behind the lens

Inherent sensitivity of the medium to light intensity and color/wavelengths.

The nature of the light recording material, for example its resolution as
measured in pixels or grains of silver halide.

Night photographers and their books


Paris de Nuit, Arts et metiers graphiques, 1932.

Harold Burdekin and John Morrison

London Night, Collins, 1934.

Jeff Brouws

Inside the Live Reptile Tent, Chronicle Books, 2001.

Alan Delaney

London After Dark, Phaidon Press, 1993.

Neil Folberg

Celestial Nights, Aperture Foundation, 2001.

Karekin Goekjian

Light After Dark, Lucinne, Inc.


Todd Hido

Outskirts, Nazraeli Press, 2002.

Peter Hujar

Night, Matthew Marks Gallery/Fraenkel Gallery, 2005.

Photography as an art

When it comes to photography and art it is an interesting concept. For art to be

considered art one has to create something new. A photographer does this just as a
painter does. Example: An artist arranges the elements that he/she is given in order
to create something new. A paint does this with paint and the scene they are given
be it imaginary or real; and a photographer does this by taking the elements given
(people, scene, objects) and arranging those, making something beautiful. There is a
basic set of elements that an artist need in order to create art. For a painter it is
paint, for a sculptor it is , let's say, stone, and for a photographer it is light.
Photographers, just as painters, have to learn a skill set in order to create their art.
Any person can go out and take a photo, that is the great thing about cameras today,
but it takes an artistic mind to create something beautiful with a camera. If one says
that the camera is the creator of the art, then one must also say that the paint brush
or the chisel are the creators of their own arts. It will always take a mind in order to
create art. Tools are tools. All human beings use them. Some with an artistic sense,
use them to create beautiful things.

During the 20th century, both fine art photography and documentary
photography became accepted by the English-speaking art world and
the gallerysystem. In the United States, a handful of photographers, including Alfred
Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, John Szarkowski, F. Holland Day, and Edward Weston,
spent their lives advocating for photography as a fine art. At first, fine art
photographers tried to imitate painting styles. This movement is calledPictorialism,
often using soft focus for a dreamy, 'romantic' look. In reaction to that, Weston, Ansel
Adams, and others formed the Group f/64 to advocate 'straight photography', the
photograph as a (sharply focused) thing in itself and not an imitation of something

The aesthetics of photography is a matter that continues to be discussed regularly,

especially in artistic circles. Many artists argued that photography was the
mechanical reproduction of an image. If photography is authentically art, then
photography in the context of art would need redefinition, such as determining what
component of a photograph makes it beautiful to the viewer. The controversy began
with the earliest images "written with light";Nicphore Nipce, Louis Daguerre, and
others among the very earliest photographers were met with acclaim, but some
questioned if their work met the definitions and purposes of art.

Clive Bell in his classic essay Art states that only "significant form" can distinguish art
from what is not art.


There must be someone quality without which a work of art cannot exist; possessing
which, in the least degree, no work is altogether worthless. What is this quality?
What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions? What
quality is common to Sta. Sophia and the windows at Chartres, Mexican sculpture, a
Persian bowl, Chinese carpets, Giotto's frescoes at Padua, and the masterpieces of
Poussin, Piero della Francesca, and Cezanne? Only one answer seems possible
significant form. In each, lines and colors combined in a particular way, certain forms
and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions.[41]

Conceptual photography turns a concept or idea into a photograph. Even though

what is depicted in the photographs are real objects, the subject is strictly abstract


Photography is art, not clicking a button on a camera. Comparable to a painter

using a brush, or a writer using a keyboard.

All the top "no" arguments are basically arguing that machines don't make art. Their
focus is on the gear, not the artist, which is clearly dumb. It'd be like arguing Mark
Twain was a hack because he used a typewriter instead of his bare hands like

I'm trying to think like those people, and I have a feeling what they really mean is
something along the lines of "the photography I see every day isn't art" because of
Facebook and Instagram and their own personal usage of photography for utilitarian
purposes like making a record of a thing, or "not all photography is art," because it
isn't and nobody would argue against that. I have a hard time believing everybody
voting no truly believes there has never existed a photograph that qualifies as art.
They've got to be conflating the concept of art with the medium. In that regard,
arguing against the possibility of photography as art would be as silly as arguing
against the possibility of as art because the majority that has ever been created
doesn't rise to the level of widely accepted artistic prominence.

Those who claim photography is not art are ignorant of art.

A camera is nothing more than an empty canvas, and light is nothing more than the
paintbrush. The camera is told what to do by the operator. It does not act alone. It is
a tool used for creation. Photography began by studying other art forms ; drawing,
painting, etc. the skills and techniques are the same, the medium is the only
difference. You can create reactions through photography that you achieve in all
other forms of art: emotions, triggered memories, thoughts, messages. So why is it
not art? Put my skills and knowledge of shapes, lighting, rules of thirds, etc... Up


against someone with no knowledge of this art form and there is a difference. Go get
a camera yourself and try to recreate a professional photograph, a fine art
photograph, and come back with your proof that it's really just the camera and
nothing else.

John Ruskin, a well known artist in the late 1800's is quoted as saying "Fine art is
the product of the head, the hand and the heart." My observation is: the head - the
organization of the visual elements as well as an original concept; the hand -
technical proficiency and the heart - there needs to be an emotional aspect the
photographer feels which can be transmitted to an observer. Both abstract and
realism can be art. (Obviously, the majority of photographs are documents, and are
important in there own right."

Whether color, black and white, abstract or documentary, photos tell a story without
the need for words. Sometimes photographs that were never meant to be viewed as
art become art just through their narrative superiority. Anyone who has seen
photographs of intense moments of human emotion in war, poverty, or social conflict
can confirm that photographs express emotions that could otherwise not be
expressed merely by literary or painterly methods. For this reason, photography has
rooted itself so deeply in our culture that we now rely on photography to tell stories,
advertise products, record history, and communicate visual ideas. It not only
documents the human experience, but it also helps us understand more about
ourselves and our existence in this world.