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Illustration for article titled Rhetorical Question: When does a photograph become art?

I took this photo on a whim. I placed the Lego set (not my own creation) by the window on a bright day and photographed it through the removable roof. However, due to the tricks of the light, the photo is sufficiently different in form from its subject that it is difficult to identify without study.

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By most accounts, it is transformative, and therefore meets a loose definition of “art.” However, the subject was built from prefabricated bricks and the organization is of someone else’s design. Is it then “original art?” I have never seen (though surely it exists) micro scaled Lego photography apart from stop motion animation. Is it then my (hasty) artistic vision that defines the piece or its rigid adherence to a mass produced design that is out of my domain?

Illustration for article titled Rhetorical Question: When does a photograph become art?

This photograph is much less clear, and defines the principle difficulty in judging the subjective. Is it even art at all? It has none of the striking features of symmetry and contrast that blur your understanding of the former. The sole interest is its micro perspective. The composition is once again the primary action on my part, but this much more illustrative.

So, what do you think? Are any of these “art?” If so, are they “original?”

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