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Should Photojournalism or Documentary Photography Be Considred Art?

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"A photograph is not merely a substitute for a glance. It is a sharpened vision. It is the revelation of new and important facts." ("Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History."). Sid Grossman, a Photo League photographer expressed this sentiment, summarizing the role photography had on America in the 1940’s and 50’s. During this era, photojournalism climaxed, causing photographers to join the bandwagon or react against it. The question of whether photography can be art was settled a long time ago. Most major museums now have photography departments, and the photographs procure pretty hefty prices. The question of whether photojournalism or documentary photography can be art is now the question at hand. Art collectors are constantly looking to be surprised; today they are excited by images first seen in last week’s newspapers as photojournalism revels in the new status as art “du jour” or “reportage art”.
First, let us define Photojournalism and Fine Art Photography. According to the Oxford dictionary, photojournalism is the art or practice of communicating news by photographs, especially in magazines. But according to Merriam-Webster, photojournalism’s full definition is journalism in which written copy is subordinate to pictorial usually photographic presentation of news stories or in which a high proportion of pictorial presentation is used. In other words, photojournalism is news photography. Photojournalism found itself invading photography from the late 1920’s and can be defined as a spontaneous and newsworthy photographic narrative of human events. Fine Art Photography is the new kid on the block. It is usually thought to refer to the visual creation for a specific expressive or aesthetic value. This is often distingui...

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