Photography Compared to Painting
Since the inception of photography, it has been widely understood to carry on the artistic quality of the paint. According to Jacobi and Kingsley (2016), the photograph is intertwined to the art of paint since it was invented in 1839 by Louis Daguerre, who was a French printer and painter. According to Jacobi and Kingsley, the photography between the ages of the daguerreotype and earliest form of color pictures contains an in-depth impressionism, symbolism and pre-Raphaelite themes that show a deep connection to the art. In the photography era showcased by Jacobi and Kingsley, photography began in an experimental painting form and slowly flowered as an international independent form of art. There is no doubt that painting is a rich form of art. In reference to art, painting refers to the resulting outcome after the painting work, as well as the action of the painter while moving the brush over the plane to form a paint.

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Painting evolved thousands of years ago while photography is less than 200 years old. Ever since the painting was introduced, very little has changed. However, in the less than two hundred years of photography, numerous changes have been experienced ranging from the daguerreotype photography to the modern form of photography. While painting has maintained the true meaning of art, photography has since deviated from being a true form of art. According to the definition by Koch, Gerken and Codex Foundation, a piece of art demands a certain level of quality in production and in the final result. While the early form of photography demanded a high level of quality input and artistic expression in order to obtain a quality photograph, most current photography does not employ the necessary effort to produce a quality photograph. The existence of photography laboratories that use expensive and modern gadgets to generate pictures works against the art as described by Koch, Gerken and Codex Foundation. In such a photograph, the true meaning of art ceases to exist.

Perception of Art
According to Arnheim (1954), “Art may seem to be in danger of being drowned by talk” (pp. 1). Arnheim thinks that true art is blocked by the path of misconception and bad habits. The misconceptions and bad habits include the inclusion of verbal and written pieces to teach and explain photographic pieces automatically blocks the art out of photography. In Arnheim’s words:
“The inborn capacity to understand through the eyes has been put to sleep and must be reawakened. This is best accomplished by handling pencils, brushes, chisels, and perhaps cameras. But here again, bad habits and misconceptions will block the path of the unassisted” pp. 1

The use of speech in the art room, as well as studio in the modern photography, deprives the audience and observer of gaining the specific qualities from the experience that are formed by a Rembrandt painting or any picture for this matter. According to Rembrandt, the experience gained by looking at a picture at first sight, prior to any verbal or written assistance, creates a unique psychological perception and understanding. According to Arnheim, that is the real meaning of art in a picture.
The photographers to contribute to the loss of arts in the loss of arts in the modern photography. Earlier on before photography, the activity by artists and painters was a self-contained activity, unrelated to any other earthly sight and belief and self-inspired from above. Great historical paintings, such as those by Rembrandt and Michelangelo showed were rich in art due to the self-inspiration of the artists.

However, in support for photography as an art, Arnheim introduces the visual experience using the perceptual forces that exist between the psychological and physical balance that exists when one looks through a painting or a picture. Suppose, an incomplete circle is drawn that leaves a small gap, the viewer sees a circle and the gap separately which creates a psychological and physical imbalance. The imbalance develops perceptual forces that try to complete the circle psychologically. According to Arnheim (1954), perceptual forces leads to the loss of art. The imbalance between the psychological and physical forces are mostly experienced in painted work and not in photographed work. Photography captures still, static and actual images that have physical and psychological balance and void of conceptual forces. However, cameras can still capture objects with a physical and psychological imbalance and hence conceptual forces, and cannot do anything to improve the balance.

  • Arnheim, R. (1954). Art and visual perception (1st ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Benjamin, W. (2010). The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction (1st ed.). Lexington, KY: Prism Key Press.
  • Jacobi, C. and Kingsley H. (2016). Photography into Art. Pre-Raphaelites to the modern age. London: Tate Gallery Publishing Ltd.
  • Kelsey, R. (2015). Photography and the Art of chance (1st ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Koch, P. R., Gerken, J., & Codex Foundation. (2008). Art: Definition five (and other writings). Berkeley, Calif: Codex Foundation.
  • Tolstoy, L. (2016). What is art? (1st ed.). London: Bloomsbury Academic.