It is a never ending story: Can photography be art? Can a photographer be an artist? And: What is "art" anyway? As you may have noticed that is a question I concerns myself quite often.  Today I stumbled over an (older) Guardian article [you can find it here] about this question. Especially interesting I found some of the comments...

*...but I know that if I decided to become one I would fail in my bid because it is not about the quality of photographs but the quality of your contacts in the art world, and I simply could not be bothered to kiss all those arises.*
*Painting is an art....photography a trade*
*Photography most certainly can be art. My problem with so much contemporary fine-art photography is that so much of it seems like bloody snapshots. Without much aesthetic consideration for form and colour. And blowing the picture up to near-mural size does not add profundity.*
*I agree photography is easy to do. You just have to know when to push the button, that's all there's to it... ...Yup, that's all there is to it, just like all there is to painting is knowing where to put the paint. Simple really.*
*A lot of the comments above remind me of people criticising paintings by saying ' my 5 year old etc '...This naivity misses the point in exactly the same way with photography as it does with painting : it's the intentionality of the artist that counts > and the fact that anyone could copy a Monet isn't relevant.as it was Monet's vision to re-invent the medium that was his gift.*

It's not a Gursky. It's only 2100x1400pixel...

So i was looking for some definitions...
For photography to have its place in the world of Art, it must have within it that quality of having been achieved by the hand of a competent Artist, along with the hand of a technically competent photographer. Many technical photographers do magnificent work in the way of recording what the world has, but only Artist-photographers can do work that can hold its place in Art salons and Collections. [Robert Balcomb]
The best definition so far I have found in the highly recommendable book of Alain Briot, Marketing Fine Art Photography:
Art is a matter of personal opinion and the world would be a boring place if we all agree on what is beautiful and artistic.

Fine art photography is first about the artist, second about the subject, and third about technique.

The photographer must consider himself an artist in order to create art.

Because art is first about the artist, it is essential that the artist control the work. What the audience wants is to see a specific artist views the world, and this can only take place if the artist assumes full control of the creation of a work of art.

A fine art photograph is done with the goal of creating a work of art. Creating a fine art photograph means creating an image that goes beyond the literal aspect of the scene or the subject photographed. It means creating an image that shares a personal vision, a message, or a metaphorical aspect. It means creating a photograph, not only taking a photograph.

A fine art photograph is not just documentary.
What a fine art photograph shows must be different from what was seen by observers presented when it was taken. The purpose of a fina art photograph is to share the photographer’s personal vision of the scene or subject.And the person who took the photograph must be present in the image, metaphorically speaking.When looking at a fine art photograph we must know the photograph was created by an artist and not just a camera. Art is the expression of the artist’s personality, vision, and inspiration. A fine art photograph is a vehicle through which the artist shares his vision with his audience. To considered art a photograph cannot be purely documentary. It must primarily be expressive. This expression must reflect the artist’s personality, inspiration, vision, personal style, and, most importantly, emotional response to the subject. The photograph cannot just show what was in front of the camera; it must also show what the photographer felt.

The image represents an interpretation of the subject, has an emotional content and multiple layers of meaning.

Post-processing is a requirement in order to express the artist’s vision. 
The camera is a machine, not a thinking, feeling human being. In order to express an emotional response to the scene or the subject through our photographs, we must step in, so to speak, and modify what the camera „saw“ and recorded.
Technical mastery is placed at the service of artistic inspiration. Technique is not an end in itself, therefore the goal is not to develop technical mastery for its own sake. Using good techniques alone does not result in the creation of art.

The selling potential of an image should not be considered while the image is created. During each phase of the image creation the focus needs to be the expression of the artist’s vision and his emotional response to the scene and the subject.

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