I am an artist and a photographer. My work is posted on various art and photography websites for sale and has been for several years. Day after day, I log into these websites to see how many visitors I’ve had, to read new comments, and check on sales. My work attracts a lot of visitors which always delights me, and I adore it when my work has moved someone enough to comment, yet I’m invariably disheartened and frustrated that all this attention results in minimal sales.

One of the websites where my work lives offers continual member-sponsored contests designed to help artists get their work seen. I enter them even though it seems this particular artist community holds a certain prejudice toward photographs, evidenced by entry rules that state “NO PHOTOS”, “paintings only”, “all mediums accepted and photographs”, and “all media including photography”. (The last two suggesting photographs are not art or something of an afterthought.)
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Another of these websites offers artists an opportunity to be a featured artist. I submitted my application over a year ago which to date hasn’t been acknowledged, and it saddens me to say that every artist that is featured is a painter, not a photographer.

Truth is, I’m not only frustrated but angry as well, and I’ve been silent on this for far too long! There needs to be a shift in perception on what is constituted as art and where photography stands in the art world.

The generally perceived wisdom, it seems, is that photography is easy and painting is hard or more skillful. Consequently, the thinking is that culturally painting is generally more valued than photography, even though there are a lot of bad paintings with little or no value. The same can be said about some photography, but the notion that photography is easy and not as skillful as painting is simply wrong thinking. To think that this is so is to invalidate world-renowned photographers like Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, and Dorthea Lange whose works hang in places like the Guggenheim, and who in general, made more money as photographic artists than painters and didn’t have to die to become wealthy or noticed. The only true difference between painting and photography is that one is in a different medium than the other.