Art of Nature




Ganesh H Shankar
Art of Nature
First of all this is not supposed to be a bird portrait! I hope the strange crop and orientation add to my justification. The chosen crop and orientation are to emphasise the magnificent, creative design by Nature. I ended up making this image when a red wattled lapwing suddenly landed next to me at Bharatpur. The intent of this post is slightly different.

"Is photography an art?" is a very old question. You may see hundreds of thousands of articles on the net trying to answer this question. You will also notice some painful attempts by photographers to defend photography's "art" status. The major objections appear to be revolving around the point that photographs are just mechanical copies. While we photographers may talk at length about 'difficulty', 'manual labor' and skillset involved in producing those unique looks, grains, tones, elusive feel etc, they all appear to get diluted when compared to 'creation' that happen from nothing on a canvas by a painter.

We also often read statements such as, "don't critique the artist/photographer, critique the art/photograph". This appears very fair - we are not interested in who painted/photographed it. We view just the work of art and share thoughts about the same. The evaluation attempt is based just on the end product and not on the process that led to it or who made it.

Do you see the dilemma here? We just discounted photography as an art form because it is just a mechanical copy. Anyone can do it! The process is at fault here! Not the end product. If a painter paints a portrait of a person posing for her then mechanical copy argument does not hold good at all. The end product is a fine art, as in Monalisa for example. Accuracy, modelling of light, use of colors etc. by the artist are celebrated. If a machine can do a more faithful copy why celebrate the human skillset which results in approximate copy? Further, this real copy can then be approximated too at will. Instead, we silently seem to value human effort here which adds to the end product as a work of 'art'.

Further, when we compare two visual objects (in this case a painting and photograph) should we worry about who made them? A person or Nature? An affirmative 'yes' in this case again does not go well with our noble intention of not comparing the artists but just the work of art. If the end product is what is important why it matters if one is designed by Nature and other by a human being?


God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things - Pablo Picasso

Far from it.

Do we change our position at will depending on what suits us?
Mon Mar 06, 2023 9:41 am
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Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Fine Art Nature Photography

Ganesh H Shankar  Joined CNP On 24 Apr 2008    Total Image posts 903    -   Total Image Comments 7734    -   Image Post to Comment Ratio 1:9    -   Image Comment Density 38     -     Total Forum Posts 956

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Commentby Adithya Biloor on Mon Mar 06, 2023 8:15 pm


I think the 'problem' lies in the basic scope and realm of the art itself.
It is by the human being, for the human being, to the human being.
Anything which doesn't deal with human agony, sorrow, happiness, etc doesn't fall under the category of art. It is a world of emotions, human emotions. Even conservation photography/art is not to conserve nature to benefit nature/ other animals but to help ourselves.

I think, by its very design it's very difficult to separate the human element from the scope of art.

Is it good/ right? I don't know. But, it looks like it is the way this has been constructed and proposed over the years.

Adithya Biloor

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Mar 06, 2023 9:35 pm


I think 'art' deserves to be nobler and broader than that:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead - his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness. - Albert Einstein.

Of course, just my opinion...

Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Fine Art Nature Photography

» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Mar 06, 2023 9:41 pm; edited 3 times in total

Commentby Rajkumar on Tue Mar 07, 2023 9:44 am

I liked the part that I can see a Cranes head , eyes and beak in it. A bird within a bird. Lighter vein may be a photograph is like a knife. One presents it but the viewer can cut anything he/she wants with it for good or for bad !!!

Art is about what is inside rather than what is outside

Commentby Umashankar S on Tue Mar 07, 2023 11:11 am

Coffee made out of manual process tastes differently. However, it can be corrected by adding sugar, decoction or milk according to one’s choice. If the same coffee taken from various vending machines tastes differently according to the way it is ‘programmed’ in different machines. Even machine provides control to correct it’s output to add/enhance certain things according to individual’s taste.

If you ask people what coffee they like, everyone will have their own preferences. At the same time they might even enjoy coffee made out of other processes yet they might comment- filter coffee is better or instant is better etc.,.

Pretty much “art” is like this!

ART, from being leisure-time activity to profession/hobby has changed over time.

Art as a leisure-time activity is more for personal expression and enjoyment. Later, people attribute timelessness, classicality etc., to this leisure-time art.

Art as a hobby/profession is evolved from leisure-time art, is not only an expression of an individual and/or expression of their time period but it is for some kind of consumption by- art lovers and/or common people. Consumption of art varies from private collectables to limited audience to public display. Here valuation of “art” varies. People might attribute value based on effort, pain, tools used etc.,. Or, “art’ can be seen as ‘art’ and be appreciated!

In the end “Coffee” matters, not how it is made should be the concern, yet one can have a opinion on how it should have been made to taste better (critique).

My two cents worth thought process after reading your comments :-)