Photography as an art | From canvas to camera

Modern art is an expanding collection of ideas among several painters, sculptors, photographers, actors, and authors. In this guest article, we take a closer look at photography as an art form, and how NFTs can help photographers today.

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@enter.artPUBLISHED 10TH JULY 2022

Written by Suoberry


Art is often one of the few things that survive the effect of time, art provides an invaluable window into history. It may tell us tales, describe the moods and beliefs of a time, and help us connect with those who came before us. Human expression results in art. Throughout history, art has documented and expressed life at a given moment. Art captures not only the way of life of a particular period or culture but also the individuals who molded history.

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lllustration: Blumenmädchen Rot 05 by photographer & enter ambassador @fotogra4bar 

Art in Ancient Times

The art of the ancient world tells current historians about the culture, values, and beliefs of these early civilizations. Art was a vital communication tool and a way to record noteworthy events when few people could read or write. Although prehistoric humans created art as far back as 40,000 years ago, some believe ancient art to be the foundation of all art history, with its techniques, forms, and subject matters continuing to impact contemporary art.

Several approaches are put into consideration when studying ancient art. One can conceptualize it as comparing and contrasting a specific theme or genre across cultures. Funerary art, for example, shows us a lot about how different civilizations faced and prepared for death and what they believed happened in the hereafter.

It is possible to describe ancient art as a historical repository. The period's artistic goods reveal historical events and lifestyles of early human communities. Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, India, Japan, Korea, Persia, China, Central America, Greece, and Rome produced distinctive works of art. 

Medieval Art

Medieval art refers to an era also known as the Middle Ages, which roughly stretched from the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. through the early beginnings of the Renaissance in the 14th century.

Early Christian and Byzantine, Anglo-Saxon and Viking, Insular, Carolingian, Ottonian, Romanesque, and Gothic are some of the aesthetic styles and periods covered by the era. 

This intriguing artistic period includes painted decorations, sculptures, stained glass, altarpieces, reliquaries, and textiles. Economic history, political and theological studies, and the status of women in medieval society are all topics of study in the works of the medieval period.

The history of medieval art is extensive, spanning several eras and genres. Medieval art was popular in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Some of the most valuable specimens of Middle Age art were displayed in churches, cathedrals, and other religious buildings. The use of precious materials like gold for artifacts in churches, personal jewelry, backgrounds for mosaics, and gold leaf in manuscripts was also prominent.

Art in Modern and Contemporary Times

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Illustration: Town hall in a soap bubble by @deadboi 


Modern art is an expanding collection of ideas among several painters, sculptors, photographers, actors, and authors. These artists sought new approaches to art creation both individually and collectively.

Due to the tremendous advancement of technological and industrial growth, artists reflected on the world in new and imaginative ways. As a result, art took on new colors, unconventional forms, and emotional and abstract explorations. There is no specific definition of Modern Art because it is a fleeting phrase that accepts a range of interpretations. It is hardly surprising given that we are always going forward in time, and what is deemed "modern painting" or "modern sculpture" now may not be considered so in fifty years.

Nonetheless, it is customary to define "Modern Art" as works created between 1870 and 1970. This "Modern era" came after a long period of dominance by Renaissance-inspired intellectual art, sponsored by a network of European academies of fine art. It is followed by "Contemporary Art" (1970 and later), the more avant-garde of which is known as "Postmodern Art."

Modern and contemporary art forms include painting, sculpture, drawing, digital art/collage, video art, installation art, land art, performance art, and photography, to name a few.

The Fine Art of Photography— From Canvas to Camera

Photography art, also known as 'fine art photography,' is the creation of photographic artworks from the artist's vision. 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in producing aesthetic objects. The dictionary also defines artwork as a work produced as an artistic effort or for decorative purposes.

Since its inception, photography has influenced how the world perceives and consumes history and daily life. A photograph can not only capture a single moment in time, but it can also reflect an entire societal movement or act as a catalyst for change.

A Brief History of Photography

Photography as we know it now began in France in the late 1830s. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used a handheld camera obscura to expose a bitumen-coated pewter plate to light. It was the first image recorded that did not fade rapidly.

Photography is originally a Greek word coined from phos meaning "light" in English, and graphi, which means to draw. It was first used in the 1830s and was officially recognized ten years later. Today, photography is the world's fastest-growing hobby, with the hardware alone generating a multi-billion dollar industry.

Camera Obscura: The Ancestor of Modern Photography

Illustration: Diagram illustrating the principle of a camera obscura. (Credit Wikimedia Commons)

Illustration: Diagram illustrating the principle of a camera obscura. (Credit Wikimedia Commons)


People figured out the basic concepts of lenses and cameras long before the invention of photography. They could project the image onto a wall or a piece of paper, but printing was out of the question at the time because recording light proved to be more difficult than projecting it. 

The Camera Obscura (Latin for "dark room") was employed to develop photographs before photography.

Camera Obscura is said to have originated in the 13th-14th centuries. However, a document dated as being from the 10th century, by the Arabian scholar Hassan ibn Hassan, defined the principles of camera obscura that made the pathway for the foundation of analog photography.

Techniques of Photography 

Photography as an art form originated as a result of technological improvements enabling photographers to edit their photos to meet their aesthetic expression. Photographers can radically alter the outcome of an image by using different cameras, lenses, film, and the framing and timing of a shot. Filters, studio lighting, various darkroom procedures, and digital augmentation provide photographers with even more tools to work with. 

Photography is now ubiquitous in the art world as a form of visual art and the photographer as an artist. Similarly, many performance artists rely on photography to capture and freeze their work in time and place.


The Psychological Impact of Photography

When we think of a photographer, we envision someone holding a massive camera in an awkward position, hoping to capture the right shot. It is a common stereotype.

In truth, anyone with a camera can become a photographer. Mobile phone cameras have made the world of photography accessible to anyone, This is a boon to society because we can now all capture our lives in images and cherish these everyday occurrences. On the other hand, photography has created a world of social media overload, which plays a significant role in the world's present mental health crisis (especially among younger generations), and the expectations of hectic lifestyles.

Psychology comes into play depending on the subject and object matter. The uniqueness of a photograph might elicit sentiments such as worry, dread, familiarity, comfort, or reverence. Photography has the potential to mirror the soul and ideas of the photographer and the person photographed. 

Visual art is known to have beneficial impacts on both physical and psychological health. Photography is a method of self-expression of a positive identity. The following are some of the advantages of photography in today's society:

  • Photography improves self-care behavior.
  • Photography promotes social engagement.
  • Photography can help you remember the good times in your life.
  • Photography offers a stunning view of the world.
  • Photography keeps the brain in excellent condition.
  • Photography can assist the body in getting moving.
  • Photos are effective mood boosters.
  • Photography fosters creativity.
  • Photography provides a sense of orientation.

Digital Photography on the Blockchain

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During the pandemic, Patrick Florian aka @misterflopatrick started minting his fine art photography as NFTs. This piece titled “Snowy Tram” sold for 129 billion $NFTART ($1000 at the time) on enter.art. (Image credit: Patrick Florian)

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, and immutable ledger that facilitates the recording of transactions and assets on its network. This makes it easier to record transactions and track assets as they change hands. 

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are digital certificates of ownership that reside on the blockchain and can be used to represent off-chain assets such as photographs, collectibles and much more. The blockchain records NFT transactions on a vast network of computers to ensure security and longevity. While the digital image of the NFT can be copied and shared, the original piece remains with the owner and can always be verified by anyone with blockchain technology. 

NFTs are interesting in part because fans and the community drive their value but more importantly because they allow creators to create digital scarcity, secure royalties indefinitely, and because the ownership- and price history of the NFT is always readily available for any interested party. 

On enter.art, photographers mint photographs and prove that they own the rights to them, and can then choose between 10 different licensing agreements to go with the NFT. When a licensee agrees to those terms, the contract executes, and the licensor makes payments to the licensee. You can read more about copyright licenses on enter here

Closing Thoughts

The purpose of art is to reveal the questions that hide in the answers. Every artist dips their brushes into their soul and paints their nature into their paintings.

Art that cannot affect the masses can’t touch the concerns of society. Only art can transcend what pride, passion, wisdom, and habit produces on all sides - the world's apparent reality. This other reality sends us cues we cannot receive without the help of art. Our actual sensations and neverending reasoning would be hidden from us without the concept of art, leaving us with nothing more than the 'terminology for practical ends' that we call life.



This article is written by Suoberry as a part of enter.blog's bounty program. Do you have an interesting topic, series or subject you think would be fitting for enter.blog? 

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