Photography as an art form has come a long way since its invention as a medium nearly two centuries ago. These days it seems like everyone is a budding photographer. Smartphones and apps such as Instagram have made it easy to quickly snap and share. And yet while the popularity of digital photography has made it so that kids born today will probably never know a camera outside of their phones, let alone a film camera, the debates over whether digital photography is an art form are reminiscent of the debates film photographers had in the 1800s.
“We’re on the verge, in the next few years it will become more widespread,” Harold Nadu a digital photographer and professor at Suffolk Community College said. “People are fascinated by it, it makes you stand out a little bit more.”
The first museum dedicated to digital art, the Austin Museum of Digital Art, hasn’t even been around for two decades. While the museum recognizes any art that is “product, process or subject,” it was not even two years ago that the first major commercial sale of digital art took place. The Phillips Paddles On! auction in the fall of 2013 brought together works of art by artists using .GIFS, digital paintings, printouts and sculpture with the art selling from $800 to $16,000.
“Photoshop has become a negative term,” Long Island artist Mac Titmus said. “I’m not sure digital art gets the respect in the art community it deserves. I hope in some ways my art brings more respect to the art form.”