Photography captures reality. It captures real moments in time, some event that actually happened, and some event of beauty, ugliness or uniqueness. The captured image was real and we can express our emotions toward the image. A painting or drawing comes from the mind of the artist and it is never real, merely how that particular artist viewed the subject.
By using a camera, we can reproduce the image in question exactly as it appears. I have been a photographer for thirty years and I love the reality of the great outdoors the camera allows me to view and photograph. Not only that, the camera and photographer can view the image from all angles, changes in light, with wind, movement, and expressions. It is marvelous.
I also receive the argument that one must be talented to be an artist, implying that using a camera is easy and without talent. Nonsense, many, many fine photographers are extremely talented and bring to the table amazing images. Let us examine many famous painters, whose work appears to have been done by a young child. The beauty of a photographic image is in the eye of the photographer and the viewer.
Experienced photographers learn over the years how to make the most of the images they capture. If photographing a bird in a tree, the photographer uses the branches and leaves to enhance and the blue sky for background. The image rounds out and is overall beautiful. I have no doubt that if Michelangelo had a camera he would have used it with relish. In the hands of the photographic artist, the camera is a tool of beauty and visual interest. No one can deny that the beautiful photographic works of Ansel Adams will always be considered art. Art at its very best. Many fine photographers came before and since, we love them all. They have added depth to our lives.
How incredible, the many new tools available to the photographic artist; digital cameras, amazing glass for lenses, diverse tripods and other equipment. My, how we all love glass. As artist we can now clarify, hue, saturate, draw, paint and layer with Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements and more. I have received criticism over the years that who, where, why and how an image is captured is important. These criticisms are nonsense. The only thing that is important is the final image. Is it beautiful, exciting the viewer, invoking feelings and memories, and pleasing to the eye?