Is Fine Art Photography Dead?

I’ve been slogging through David Bate’s textbook, Photography: The Key Concepts. (And it is a slow, hard slog.) There’s lots to think about and write about, but in the meantime, Philip Gefter has an interesting piece in the magazine Photograph touching on the future and nature of fine art photography.

It’s a topic I’ve been interested in lately, and while my title above overstates the case, it’s something worth considering. Gefter asks “…whether fact and fiction can coalesce in the visual universe of fine art photography.”

Having recently come off of Gretchen Garner’s Disappearing Witness I’ve been thinking about the century-long jockeying between fictional and factual photography. Fiction has dominated the art world for the past several decades, but I wonder if that’s sustainable. Can the two co-exist? My gut feeling is that the documentary nature of the photograph is so intrinsic to the medium that over the long haul, the document will almost always prove more sustainable than the fictions.

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