Technological Reproducibility Of Photography Is Art

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Benjamin writes that the question of whether photography is an art is “misguided and confused.” He states that asking whether photography is art or not is the wrong question to ask because it is not whether photography is art or not, the question that should be asked is “what does photography do to/for art?”. I will discuss the concepts and ideas Benjamin uses to portray his point of what is at stake and significant regarding photography, focusing on technological reproducibility, aura, and fascism. Benjamin begins his essay discussing the process of art and how it has evolved to create new meanings for current art and politics. Lithography was a milestone for art because it allowed a closer temporal reaction between the production of images …show more content…
The argument that technological reproducibility is devalued by the mechanisms producing art, instead of people directly, is something to avoid. What should be focused on is how technological reproducibility takes away the authoritative meaning the elitists have traditionally been able to control. The widely accessible means of photography and photography itself takes away the power from “high society” and gives it to the viewer, thus diminishing the aura. The increased access of photography (and the technology that has latent photographical aspects) decreases the power of the original. The exhibition value of art is auratic, it promotes the here and now of painting or the feelings associated “in the paintings presence”. Exhibition value trumps cult value when the humanness is removed from the photograph. Atget’s photographs of the absence of humans exudes an eeriness because it removes the “…demand of a specific kind of reception” and sheds light on the hidden political significance (258). The prognostic value of art is thought of as new forms of art, film and photography. This kind of art makes demands on the person witnessing the art and creates its own …show more content…
Photography has changed art and how we perceive it, which in Benjamin’s eyes is more important than attempting to figure out if photography is art. If we focus on whether or not photography is an art, it can lead to standards and designated formulas for art. By creating rules around what is and what is not art, we would be taking away power from the masses and putting the control of art and politics to an easily abusable situation. This would be the epitome of authoritarianism, which as we know leads to fascism. By freeing art from the dangers of categorization, anyone and everyone can have their say and perspective of art. What becomes relevant when we refocus on the effects of photography on art is change and new points of view. Although the aura within art/photography/film/theater/ architecture etc… is still present, it is at a place where it is manageable. Being aware of the aura and distance associated with art is key to managing a balance of value and openness. After all, Benjamin seems hesitant to completely get rid of aura and some of the details that tie into

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