Lecture: Is Photography Art?: Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an art history class. Professor: For a long time, people have debated whether photography is art or merely a technology – a tool for documenting reality. One painter told me she doesn't consider photography art because it's quote too easy, because anyone can learn to use a camera. That's a bias and perhaps you know other painters who feel the same way. But when you read the history of photography in your textbook, I hope you notice the paradox, the fact that painters themselves were some of the first people to embrace early photographic technology, like the camera obscura. The camera obscura is an optical device that projects an upside down image onto their campus and in 1800s painters use camera obscuras heavily. They projected an image onto their campus and then carefully traced the image. This helped them render the illusion of perspective more accurately and capture more details. At the time in the mid-to-late 1800s, realism, the accurate, objective, unembellished depiction of nature or contemporary life was a major artistic movement. So when permanent photographs came about, it's not surprising that painting and drawing began to be regarded as a poor imitation of photography. People now started relying on photography to provide records of fact. The objectivity of photography was so unquestioned that photos started being introduced as evidence in courts of law. So where that leave painting? You have to sit for hours to have your portrait painted, but only a few minutes to have your photograph taken. Would photography replace painting, replace the demand for all realistic art? Some painters responded to the situation by turning against realism and relying solely on their imagination, images that cameras could record. Artistic movements like Impressionism and Abstract Art, so-called nonrepresentational art. These art movements actually were reactions to the great influence of photography, a revolt some might say. Eventually, especially as cameras got more versatile, smaller and more portable, photographers were faced with more and more creative choices: what to live in the photograph, what to live out, camera angles, lighting. Different camera lenses could be used to distort image. Film negatives and photos can be altered and with the advent of digital photography and image processing software, photographs can be manipulated like ever before. This has become so widespread that courts now require testimony that photos submitted as evidence is a true representation of reality. Over time photography has evolved into a variety of genres such as photojournalism, portrait photography and art photography. But still lines can be blurred. Take wedding photography which at one level documents a special event, the marriage ceremony. But consider a wedding photographer who uses a digital camera and a computer to revise and edit digital photographs. For example, reducing the intensity of some colors while accentuating others, or changing the background so it complements the bride's outfit. If the definition of art includes creativity, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that this approach is mere documentation.