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How Photography Achieved the Status of an Art

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1 APRIL 2017


4PM – 5.30PM


120A Prinsep Street
Singapore 187937




The question of whether photography was art or wasn’t was raised almost as soon as the medium was invented and continued to be disputed throughout the nineteenth century. Alfred Stieglitz and the PhotoSecession in America, as well as related movements in Europe, tried hard to place photography among the recognized arts in the early twentieth century, but widespread acceptance had to wait for decades.

Event Description

In the 1960s, a number of American artists who were certain the medium was not art, actually contributed a great deal, despite themselves, to photography’s aesthetic elevation.

Then in the 1970s, the market began to confer high status on photography through the first auctions and an increase in galleries showing photos because the number of collectors was increasing. Museums too, slowly, began to take notice.

Yet today the ease and almost infinite number of photographs produced, including a surprising number that could be judged worthy by old standards and new though many are taken by people who are not professionals, has raised the old question in a new and unsettling context.


Vicki Goldberg