At the beginning, photography was known for capturing just what we see, while paintings were subject to the artist’s imagination. But the definition of a photograph has never really been settled. Different photography tricks play off the expectation that these images are real, so when we see a photograph that just looks impossible, it makes us stop and think—which makes the image very good art.
What Is a Photograph?, curated by Carol Squiers, explores this idea by featuring photographs that question the very definition of a photograph. “Visitors to the exhibition had better be ready to read wall text or buttonhole a staff member because these pictures need their captions: most of them can’t be parsed without some sort of explanation,” reads a Time article.
The exhibition of 84 images is available through May 4, a portion of the images may also be viewed at International Center of Photography.
What do you think? What makes an image a photograph?
Image: Lucas Samaras