This is a chapter from the book A Lesser Photographer.
“Art is anything we do, after the chores are done.” — Teller
There’s been a lot of handwringing among the art crowd to explain away the democratization of photography. To differentiate between what qualifies as “fine art” and what is the work of a hobbyist, the art crowd likes to make excuses about how hard it is to create a great photo.
Some variation of “snapshots are easy, great photography is near impossible” or “it takes years of hard work” are repeated endlessly to justify entire careers, or just a large purchase. One is led to believe that great photographers are scarce and fine-art photography may be dying out.
We’re not watching the dying of photography as a fine art. What we’re really watching is the dying of a concept, the concept that good ideas in photography, ideas worthy of the gallery, are scarce. They’re not. They’ve never been. Connections in the fine-art market are scarce.
No one gets to tell you what qualifies as “fine” art. Nor could they.