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Photography and the Mirror of Art by Martin Jay

When photography was introduced to the art scene, the initial reactions came from its comparison with painting, and there was the argument that the photograph is a “soulless imitation of the world” which, throughout the following century, were taken at hand in different approaches. Even though at first photography was considered like the almost perfect mimicry of the real life, with the subjective involvement in the process of making a photograph made it clear that it was a new form feeding from the preceding forms. More important than that, it brought the individual perception to the foreground, and with accessibility of a camera it made the difference between high and low art disappear. In this way it succeeded to accomplish avantgarde’s mission of reuniting art and life, by destroying the difference between the esoteric and the exoteric artworks. Photography made the art scene reach a climax of mimicry of the observable world, and then it created a way for what we call nowadays as contemporary, by putting autonomy of the artist on the foreground. The main argument is that the photographic artwork which is becomes more of an art object, finds its meaning through its connection with external elements, this can be with a title, a text, or the other artworks around it, therefore it always finds itself a place in the art discourse. This way photography not only certified its artistic being, but also became the precursor of a new understanding of art.

You can reach the text here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40548074?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents