Since its presence, photography has been called the most powerful recorder and re-presenter of reality. Its sensitivity to detail and its accuracy in time make modern humans glorify it as part of human progress in recording general history and ourselves. With steam and telegraph machines, photography has shortened the distance between humans and space since two centuries ago. The steam engine as a muscle extension has increased the possibility of human action and dreams, the telegraph changed the pattern of communication, and photography became the eye that continued to work giving a new look to the world.
Photography is also considered as one of the mediums of art that is able to present a transcendental journey in exploring the inner spaces of an entity of knowledge as a subject, naturally, through an emotional approach and reasoning approach. No doubt the appreciation process through the visual medium becomes a vital element that is inevitable to obtain objective aesthetic experience of phenomena.
In the digital era, photography expanded into various digital media from social media to mass media. The massive spread of photography as a result of technological developments makes the boundaries of “photography as art” and “photography as a practical activity” become so grey that it can’t be distinguished by ordinary people. Because, photography as an aesthetic medium no longer be seen in terms of intrinsic, but also in other extrinsic terms as Arthur Danto says that “To see something as art requires an eye cannot decry — an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of history of art: an artworld “(Danto at Alperson (eds.), 431). If the past 20 years have been very easy to distinguish “art objects” and “objects not art” through Artworld, then today what has happened is very different. Today’s technology allows intrinsic and extrinsic boundaries in the art to be so vague.
Today’s technology allows a fluid shift between the intrinsic art and extrinsic art in photography from the real world to cyberspace, and vice versa. The extrinsic art has been very fluid lately. Anyone has the same right to comment on art, whether it’s a student, labourer, or art critic. The gallery as a space for appreciating works of art has also become blurred by the existence of the Internet which allows people to access the artwork from any part of the world.
The intrinsic art in photography, it is not much different from extrinsic art. The image of a photo object can be easily manipulated, modified, and reconfigured at any time through editing features on the Internet. Artworks are no longer viewed through an essentialist perspective as Danto considers to be able to represent such words or human gestures (Tiziana, 74-75). Thus, photography seeks to devote methods while constructing thoughts and feelings into the process of seeing to experience a deep understanding of the state of existence of the subject.
Unfortunately today photography is in the same situation as painting decades ago. Like painting, the art of photography must be able to transform itself again because technology becomes so sophisticated day by day. Photography as an art cannot be ignorant of technological developments that stand in line with our tendency to make an extension of our relationship with the reality we accept as reality itself or as part of artistic experience.
Danto, Arthur. C. “The Artworld” on Philip Alperson (ed.), The Philosophy of the Visual Arts, USA, New York, 1992.
Tiziana, Andina. Arthur Danto: Philosopher of Pop, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.