The photograph as contemporary art

For almost all of its lifetime photography has endured a debate about whether it is considered to be an art form or simply a quick, convenient method of documenting. When reading the title of Charlotte Cotton's book (below), it is clear from the outset that she considers photography to have a worthwhile place as contemporary art, stating in her introduction that:

The photograph as contemporary art, by Charlotte Cotton, front cover. 

The photograph as contemporary art, by Charlotte Cotton, front cover. 

"We are at an exceptional time for photography as the art world embraces the photograph as never before and photographers consider the art gallery or book the natural home for their work", Cotton, C. (2011, p. 8). 

Knowing Cotton's viewpoint from the beginning enables the reader to settle into the book and consider the various types of contemporary art photography. Cotton has categorised this art form into the following 8 chapters:

1. If this is art.  

2. Once upon a time.  

3. Deadpan.  

4. Something and nothing.  

5. Intimate life.  

6. Moments in history.  

7. Revived and remade.  

8. Physical and material.  

Since this book is a key course text I have decided to dedicate a number of future blog posts to each chapter instead of trying to accomplish everything in this one blog post. Hopefully I will also be able to apply it to my People and Place course work.  


Cotton, C. (2011) The photograph as contemporary art. New edition. London: Thames and Hudson.