Different Definitions of Art and Photography

2371 WordsMar 16, 201210 Pages
To test the validity of the statement ‘All the arts are based on the presence of man, only photography derives an advantage from his absence.’ (Bazin 1967: 13), one has to first define what is meant by art. This commentary is going to examine this statement using three different definitions of art, Bazin’s, Tolstoy’s and Arnheim’s definitions. Andre Bazin believed realism lies at the heart of art, and that art is the process of reproducing reality. He believed that an artefact should ‘helps us to remember the subject and to preserve him from a second spiritual death’ (Bazin 1967: 10). He saw art as a way of immortalising mortal things; he compares painting and sculptures to the ancient practice of mummifying in Egypt, ‘to keep up…show more content…
Although modification of photos is possible, it is important to note that it is frowned upon amongst those who practice photography as an art, as the central idea behind the art of photography is realism, and being able to produce something that someone will look at later and admire. If we use Bazin’s definition of art, a realistic recreation of an object or person, photography does benefit from an absence of man, as it is not influenced by minds of individuals, and produces an exact copy of the subject. And although many artistes have tried to be as objective as possible, and have produced portraits of man and landscapes that resemble their subjects very closely, they still lack the clarity and detail that a photo can provide. The reason behind this is that no human brain can ever be as objective as a camera, as their illustrations is based on their perception and their view of the world, which can differ from man to man. At the other end of spectrum lies Rudolf Arnheim definition of art, which states art is something that is a pure work of man. For Arnheim a piece of work would have to be made by man in every sense, the idea and the production process, to be considered art. Arnheim also believed ‘film will be able to reach the heights of the other arts only when it frees
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