Is photojournalism artistic enough for art galleries
It took a long time for photography to gain its deserved place among traditional forms of fine art, such as painting and sculpture, and step into many art galleries as equally valued genre. Photojournalism, as a subgenre of photography, is still struggling to
prove its artistic potential and be accepted and labeled as fine art. It is strongly believed among esteemed critics that photojournalism documents various human events, representing objective reality and thus it cannot be considered for art. Art has to involve subjective expression of an artist and it usually tends to steps away from reality a bit. It’s true that photojournalism derived from news delivery, that its primary aim is to literally represent subjects and events and in addition to that – most of photojournalists consider themselves more of a truth-tellers or whitnesses than pure artists. On the other hand, it is for sure that informative content of these photos can provoke strong emotional reactions, intrigue viewers and leave them puzzled with some universal questions. Photojournalism has also proven that various scenes of rough reality can be captured in rather aesthetic manner.
Consequentially, it’s still an ongoing debate in an art world whether photographs taken on an assignments for newspapers can be valuable enough to be framed, exhibited on the walls of common art galleries and thus considered for a fine art works.
Due to all its qualities, photojournalism has gained increasing attention and acceptance among art lovers over last few decades. Many art galleries have realised that the work of photojournalists falls within the definition of art and decided to feature gallery shows and exhibitions on this subject.
You can argue that news photography is too realistic to be art, or you can agree that realism is a form of art too. You can argue that objective recording of some situation isn’t creative process of inovating some new idea, or you can
agree that photojournalism can be as ingenious, originative and lucid as any other form of art. Often working under different dangerous circumstances, news photographers capture powerful moments through complex interplay between photographer’s eye, camera, subject, light, contrast and many other elements. It often results with an image of some realistic event blending narrative and emotional component into unique peace of art. All of this characterizes imaginative process of creation in any other art field.
Also, many of these truth-telling shots withstand the test of time. Vietnam “napalm girl” is probably one of the best examples. Over forty years later, after captured in one of the most memorable photos of the previous century, the image of this girl is an eloquent symbol and strong message against the war.
Photojournalism can affect spectators in a same way any other form of art does. News photos speak universal language, they can touch and move audience and reflex some profound ideas and messages.
This is why the photojournalism exhibits are becoming more common within the art world. And this is why even more photos should cross over from newspapers onto walls of numerous art galleries and museums.