Art vs. Applied Art

Photography lives in two different worlds. One is the world of fine arts, where photography took place around 100 years ago, with renowned artists, exhibitions and sky-high prices on the art market. The other is the world of applied arts, where reportage meets portraiture meets commercial photography. But where is the line between the two? Is photography general art with an applied side, or is it applied art that occasionally veers into the fine arts? Looking at the numbers of photographers working on the commercial side, the latter seems to be the case. I would offer a third option: Abandon the tag of “applied arts” altogether. It does not help the disciplines it spans: Architecture, design, typography, photography and others are their own distinct fields. Using “Something-art” as a way of trying to be more artsy, valuable or relevant does not bring the glory we hope it does. It’s in the words: “Something-art” will always be more something than art. To fully understand Photography or any other creative field, we need to accept the full breath of the different dimensions they may have—be they artistic, social or commercial.