Photography or Art?

Altered imagery

Grand Central, New YorkDear Nitsa,
I love all your work but I am wondering why you are interested in changing or even destroying your pictures? Aren’t you ever happy with your pictures and want to leave them ‘as is’? Mark
The answer to your question, dear Mark, has something to do with the role of photography. I’m not an expert on the history of art but it seems to me that until photography came around, art was a serious medium that was used to depict portraits and landscapes in a very responsible manner. But once photography assumed this important job, the artists were free to begin doing abstract and other types of visual interpretation. So photography was pretty much left with making portraits, landscapes and documenting events. This is very nice and nothing is wrong with it. But this doesn’t mean photography can’t be used in other ways. Despite its scientific and mechanical nature, it can even be an artistic medium.

This article is part of the
Creative Photography – Collection of articles and techniques

Now, you call it “destroying your pictures” but I see it as “presenting my images in a non-traditional form” which is just one step in the process of making photos. This is why I prefer the term “making photos” and not “taking photos”. Photography can be a process of creating something artistic which is shaped by many steps such as: choosing the camera and film, locating the image, selecting the desired settings, making the exposure, developing and printing the photograph and finally presenting the image.
It is never “as is”. I’m not even sure what “as is” really means.
The bottom line is that photography does not have to be confined to a single limited view of its function and it should always be characterized and defined by the individual photographer.
So mark, I tried answering your question seriously, I hope it works for you.
Now, excuse me, I have to go destroy, I mean, distress a print or two.

William Kazak says:
Alternative chemical processes have amazed artists since cameras began. Soft focus lenses were very popular in the early days of photography. The mood was more important for portraits and to landscape shooters than the purist rendition. The F64 group of camera artists, on the other hand, loved sharp photos. Their images had great depth of field, hence the name F64 group. Lens manufactureers catered to both groups. Soaking your print in coffee adds timeless effects and almost every darkroom student has tried it along with other forms of sepia staining. Now, we still have soft focus lenses and filters and some modern shooters love lens flare. Photography, or non-photography as Nitsa likes to say it, includes all of these processes and more. What a great medium to work in and produce art of all kinds.

Nitsa says:
William, thanks for the insight! I feel like Im discovering new things all the time; new shooting methods new printing processes new combinations and new ways to present my work. its endless. The best, of course, is when I take a bit of this and some of that and come up with something of my own.