The esthetical value of photography

What is the esthetical value of a photo? Does the picture have to be esthetic? What kind of emotions expressed with beauty influences the perception? Those are really though questions, which oftentimes, evoke over-the-top emotions among critics. Some people would connote esthetics with art exclusively, others would claim it doesn’t influence the quality of a picture, and well, most of the times both the views are true.

Creator vs. the viewer

In case of photography, esthetics interpermeates with practice. Photography plays roles in reports, press, advertisement different than within portraits, still life or landscape. The perception of the picture is a very individual approach, so the value of esthetics could be estimated differently. Regardless of author’s assumptions, some viewers may find the work of art esthetic, meanwhile, others might not appreciate it at all. The division of esthetics derives from those differences in perception.

Oftentimes, artists support the view that it’s them, who specify what’s important and what’s not within the work of art. As creators, they pass the message, which is to be discovered by the viewers. There’s no space for interpretation and all the viewer’s feelings are being evoked in accordance with creator’s will. On the other hand, viewers fly in the face of such approach, insisting that the art itself is being created for them. It’s the viewer, who according to his own experience, knowledge and conversance of art, estimates the esthetic value of work and interprets it, nevertheless, the real esthetic value lies in the presented item. It could be descried and appreciated exclusively by the viewer.

The aforementioned approaches (one subjective, the other one objective) are not the only extremes, you will come across. There’s also relativism and absolutism. Both the forms also present other assumptions. In the first case, the value of the work could be variable and within the second, it’s constant. If you think that there’s nothing more to it, when it comes to estimating the same work, then think again. Another two extremes – heterogeneity and autonomy – could also be added. When considering the first, the esthetic value of the work ties with other values, in the second case, it’s independent of other values.

Consciousness is the key to interface with the viewer

Regardless of your approach towards esthetics and the kind of photography you practice, it’s important to be aware of the processes of creating image. The awareness of the differences in the perception of the work is the most important lesson for you to learn. Each of the presented approaches has something in common: the esthetic contemplation, which stands for esthetics experience treated as a process contributing to the value of the picture. Active perception of the work is necessary to impress the viewer. It’s a submission to its dominance. Esthetical and intellectual experiences, derived from viewing the work, directly leads to the understanding, what the author had in mind. An invisible connection, between the artist and the viewer, is being established.

However, the esthetic value of a photo cannot always be fully perceived. Most of the times, it happens at the moment of unconscious esthetical experience. Integration with a work of art happens in an intuitive manner. The lack of necessary knowledge leads to the freedom of esthetical experience. It’s one of the main factors, which separates amateurs from the professionals, who rely on their knowledge, when it comes to appropriate interpreting an esthetical experience.

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