Photography is one of art's newest mediums. Unlike painting, its history does not stretch back many hundreds of years but, rather, just over a century. It wasn't until the 1940s that it was even taken seriously as an art form, but since then, it has become one of the most pervasive, touching everything from advertising to social media.
One of the most prominent figures responsible for photography's acceptance into mainstream art was the curator and multi-disciplinary artist, Alfred Stieglitz. Originally a painter, Steichen became celebrated for his photographs capturing the modern architecture of New York City and intimate images of his wife and fellow artist, Georgia O'Keeffe. Gordon Parks blurred the lines between street photography and fine art over the course of his lengthy career. Parks frequently used his lens to capture the beauty of Black culture in America while also documenting the horrific racial injustices all around him. Nan Goldin allowed viewers into her most intimate spaces, chronicling her closest relationships and even bouts of domestic violence. The raw nature of the work helped change expectations for the visceral quality of photography and pioneered a style that persists to the present day.
True, photographs can capture the reality immediately in front of them, but that doesn't mean the results are impartial. The camera is simply a tool photographers use to articulate their ideas as personally as any other.