“Photography or Photo Art”

Is there are line between the two and when is it crossed? This an image of a coneflower I captured a couple of days ago, it was shot in Raw, a slight curves adjustment, a slight boost in color saturation and then sharpened. The image came out pretty nice but I felt it was missing something, so I went to the filter palette in PS and used the surface blur tool to smooth the image out a bit, not much but enough to make a difference.

There are some who have total disdain for photo shop and manipulation, then again there are others who believe it’s part of the process and is not a big deal. When is it too much, and after it is added to an image do you stop calling an image a photograph and if so what do you call it then. It really doesn’t bother me that much and I was just wondering what your thoughts on this subject are.



11 thoughts on ““Photography or Photo Art”

  1. montucky

    For what it’s worth…

    I think that the difference between photo-graph and photo-art is simply a matter of intent. A lot, perhaps most, of what you post I would call art. By contrast, just about everything I post is not, and that’s intentional. I do some editing, but my parameter there is to show my subject as clearly and accurately as possible and I will correct what the camera saw to correspond as closely as possible to what I saw when I pressed the button. As close as I usually get to the line is when I’m cropping something.

  2. Bernie Kasper Post author

    Thanks for the insight Terry, I always wonder how far to go with all the editing devices out there now, I try to keep it as close what I actually see as possible, but some times you have to take a few liberties. And don’t sell yourself short Terry, your images are art as well.

  3. Mark

    I think if this were going to be a textbook shot of what a coneflower looks like, then perhaps there are a bit more restrictions on it. But if it is a photograph of a coneflower in how you ~see~ it – I see nothing wrong with adding to that vision post capture.

  4. Lori

    I think it’s interesting to see how pictures can be manipulated into a piece of art that is unique. But personally, I prefer photographs that are the original, natural subject as it’s neat to see what we are capable of capturing in its true state.

    (That said, I do find these photos captivating and lovely.)

  5. paintingartist

    The blurring of the leaf is a little artsy but still there is so much realism left that anyone familiar with the flower would know what it is. Some would just figure you had used selective focus and combined 2 or 3 photos for increased depth of field perhaps painting in a blurred leaf or two. You definitely have an awesome eye for beauty whether you call it photographic or artistic. If you are an artistic photographer, you are definitely a very realistic photographer!

  6. aullori

    Hi Bernie,

    I wonder a bit if this curiosity (that I myself have an issue with) isn’t connected to the idea of realism vs. impressionism. Your work reminds me of impressionistic paintings – which are honestly an art form in and of itself. It’s almost photo-impressionism. And what you do works very well… you show a real knowledge of your camera and the photographs you take. (And this does not even come close to the whole talent aspect that obviously exists as well.) Your are beautiful at capturing beauty. However, there is also realistic art as well and it has led the path of photography for years – but ironically not in painting. We have been led to believe that realistic paintings are bad and unrealistic photos are bad. I think your kind of work, and others who produce work like yours, will challenge these ideas and hopefully show what a camera combined with human imagination can do. If I were you – I’d offer this photo to the yearly photo contest from the Smithsonian Magazine under altered images – because it really is lovely. Myself? Tho I know a lot about Photoshop I attempt to make all my photos as realistic as possible, so I will use it for older images to make it match the memory I had, but not for new photos. For me this is a record of a sort and that is the primary purpose of what I do – if it somehow accidentally becomes art well, then what a nice surprise. Here is my thing; art is defined by reaction. And your seven previous comments say you produced art. It is impossible to not look at your work and feel – thus it is art.

    p.s. sorry for babbling so much but I sincerely appreciate you offering a forum to state my opinion.

  7. Bernie Kasper Post author

    I have my own printer so I am capable of printing some really large prints 16×24, the wife and son have gone to bed and I am printing a few images for a women here in town, so I thought I would print a giant one of this to see how it turns out. Thanks again for looking and commenting.

  8. janina

    I like your work. As for labelling it, I’d rather not do that. To my eye, this particular image is just a closeup of a flower, beautifully composed, colourful! I don’t need to analyse it to death…


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