What is Photography : Commercial Photography - Art or no Art?

There are those who would argue that commercial photography could not possibly be called an art. Others go even further by claiming that it isn't actually photography, either. So what is it?

Every photographer has a specific niche, a particular subject they like to take photographs of. Some like nature or cars, others prefer food. There are photographers specialising in sports, pets, portraits or medical and scientific photography, in short, if it can be photographed, somebody is doing it. Each to his own, as the saying goes.

It is very easy to criticise another's work because it is not the sort of thing we'd like to shoot. But does that make it wrong, or bad? Picasso is not to everybody's taste, but he was still an artist.

A good photographer should not be judged by the equipment he uses or the kind of photograph he takes.

A plate of food or a rail of clothing in a shop can be just as artistic as a tropical sunset if it is the product of a vision.

The most beautiful shop display will not attract customers if the photograph has not been considered well by the photographer. A commercial photographer may not expect his images to be hung in New York's Met, or the Guggenheim, but he uses his vision and his imagination to create a work that will attract viewers.

A good commercial photograph will draw the eyes of an individual to it without them knowing why. This is where the art lies even in commercial photography. To create an image that captures the essence of its subject without needing an explanation.

There is little point in trying to mimic the work of others by getting the same gear, reproducing the same settings and shooting away. It is impossible to create the same situation in exactly the same way twice. One has to see the image through the eyes of the photographer, from their point of view, to understand why a certain technique or setting was used at the time.

Every photograph, even a commercial one, tells a story. For every photograph, there is a reason why it was done in a specific way. Each and every photograph has been created using vision, imagination and knowledge, making it a work of art, regardless of whether it is appreciated by everyone or not.
With a photograph, I can bring someone from his or her spot on the globe to mine.  They can stand with me in the midst of a pine forest or walk in hushed silence through the musky light of a swamp.  In reverse, through the images of others, I have walked across hot, sandy deserts; I have stood on immense mountaintops, and pushed my way through steamy rainforests.  Photographs have introduced me to families, mothers and fathers I have never met, and told the story of lives intertwined forever.  In short, photographs are very important. Photographs "become" through making choices, and great photographs become through making right choices.  Right choices are the direct result of the knowledge of the photographer.  Great photographs are NOT, however, strictly the result of owning fancy equipment.  Anyone using most any camera can take an incredible photograph.