If a picture is worth the proverbial thousand words, why must these 22 exist: “Surprisingly, even after almost 190 years since its introduction, photography is still often viewed as inferior in the hierarchy of fine art.”
Those words are from Joy Reed Belt, director of JRB Art at The Elms, which currently hosts Photofest, an exhibition celebrating the art of photography, through the viewfinders of five artists.
Oklahoma City-based artist Romy Owens said photography may get the short shrift because it remains a relatively young medium, “despite how incredible it is. ... Of course, I believe photography is as valuable an art as any other medium involving a creative process.”
It hasn’t helped, she said, that the prevalence of digital devices has removed the difficulty of picture-taking, opening the field to the masses.
“It’s so pervasive and omnipresent that we are desensitized to imagery. With any piece of art, a viewer tends to spend less than 10 seconds looking at it,” Owens said, “and we process imagery so quickly, that if that image possesses the familiarity of what we look at constantly already, it holds less value.”
That, of course, is not the case with these pieces. Owens’ are stitched, while Christa Blackwood has employed the vintage tintype technique.
In Karen Hayes-Thumann’s case, each shot was captured at New York’s iconic Coney Island.
“Everyone has a camera within reach and can push a button,” Owens said. “There is much more to the art of photography than that.”