plein air landscape painting
Painting From Life vs. From Photos

Proposed definition of art:

Art is the visual representation of that which people find important at an emotional level.

Here is Steve‘s reaction:

If so, every snapshot of your boyfriend/girlfriend at a photo booth is art. Every representation of a car is art. Every dog or cat image ever produced by any means is art. The definition becomes so all-encompassing it’s useless.

Why useless? If a photographer or (photo booth) accomplishes the same essential function today that required a skilled artist in the past, why do we need to change the meaning of the word ‘art’? Bread once was produced with intense manual labor. Now it is made by machines. The function of the bread is the same. Why should we change the definition of the word ‘bread’?

The proposed definition of art says that art is what it always has been. If an image of what you find important is made in a photo booth, why is it less art than if it was painted by an artist? Because the artist takes more trouble to produce the image and charges more? If only that were true! But in reality, the photo serves the function of art. Why pretend otherwise? The question of importance is, is that photo any good? Can a painter make something so extraordinarily special as to justify the extra cost? If the painting costs more, it should be because it has something extra to offer, not because of some art brand label.

The power of art, if any, must be in the work itself, not the word ‘art’.