Watch Your Language: Art and Photography.

This is quite a difficult post to put together because
I’m writing about something that I sense is
wrong, but am not sure if I can put it into
Being a photographer I often notice the phrase: Art and Photography.
I’ve heard it twice in the last
week on National Radio.
There is something
about this phrase that makes me wince.
I feel that it is possible that if deconstructed it
could be found to contain some residual prejudice against
photography as a medium, after all, one does not hear:
Art and Painting.
Or: Art and Sculpture.
There is a hierarchy in the media used by artists in making
their work.
Until recently anyway, Paint has been King.
Centuries of this being so seems to have hardwired the concept into people’s brains.
A medium such as Printmaking, for example, would be much further down their hierarchy. I mention this medium because I like
woodcuts and linocuts, although my impression is
that these two have almost disappeared at present.
The idea that a serious artist could choose a camera rather than
a brush, is one, which for many, seems to
take a lot of swallowing.
I don’t believe in the idea that any one medium is
inherently superior to another of course. I don’t think
that’s how art works.
It’s quite common for me to be in a conversation with someone
about my work, even a client, and they are repeatedly calling my
photographs paintings. I never say anything because I don’t want to
embarrass them and also because I’m quite fascinated, but I can see the process.
They are feeling that this object in front of them is considered art so it just
can’t be a photograph, it must be a painting, that’s how deep the
indoctrination goes.