At the risk of being labeled a cynic (of course, I am), I would like to open for discussion a topic near and dear to my heart and a philosophical matter that has been perplexing me lately. The title of this post is plagiarized from a post in the Canon Powershot Talk forum on DPR. I had to jump into that one and it's getting quite interesting so I thought I would share my thoughts here. The OP of the post on DPR asked "what is worth a photograph?" and linked to this article, a photo essay on cigarette butts: http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/arts/headlines/20140104-photo-essay-cigarette-butts-as-art-sure1.ece?ssimg=1370870#ssStory1370891 Then another link to the OP's own essay on smudges and cracks on the sidewalk: http://www.pbase.com/chammett/street_signs As I write this post, I find it difficult to contain myself and not erupt in non-stop laughter. But, this is serious business because we are "serious" people, us enthusiasts. My initial response went something like this: <a href=http://year77.com/images/art.jpg>http://year77.com/images/art-2.jpg"></a> What do you see? I call it "Engulf". The struggle of the larger but slower brick as it attempts escape from a multitude of insatiable quartz stones, hell bent on ripping the brick to pebbles. Actually, it's a shot I took of the ground by accident as I was carrying my camera. Really, it's just crap. But, that's art too isn't it? Does it not conjure up some deep inner emotion, the empathy for the underdog, the horror of consumption, the study of neutral earth tones? In my world, the above shot is more pleasing to look at than 95% of the "art" I see on the photo forums and elsewhere. I reserve the right to feel that way. If someone walks around town, taking pictures of stains on a sidewalk or cigarette butts and wants to call it art, whom am I to say it's not. You can call whatever you want art, I suppose. But, here's the rub. If you display your art you invite criticism. I think to define art is like trying to explain life itself. Really, who knows? One thing I think we can all agree on though, art must have some sort of function, else why would any of us waste time on it. I contend and some may agree that art's intent is to create or instill some sort of emotion in the human spirit (whether that exists or not is a matter of dispute) or imagination or whatever beans we got floating around in our heads. It can be joy, or sadness, it can be euphoria or dismay it can be love or hate or just a plain good feeling or sense that we can't explain but do indeed value. If I look at a picture of a crack in a wall or a piece of bubble gum wrapper on the sidewalk, what emotion does that instill within my spirit? None. Why? Because I see that every day, nothing unusual about it, nothing beautiful no matter how over-saturated in Photoshop it may be. It's just plain uninteresting. I see photography today as a form of expression on the decline. A friend of mine said he thought that digital photography has cheapened the photograph. We are bombarded by images anymore. I think that there are so many cheap cameras out there that you have people shooting everything and anything and putting it up as art or photography. That's fine, do whatever makes you happy. Personally, I use my camera to chronicle my passage through life. It's a life recorder, if you will. Some people look at a camera and see a paint brush, others see it as a professional tool and so on. What is worth a picture? The answer can be, anything. The real question should be "What is worth a second look". That ends my first reply to the OP on that Forum and I would like to expound on that thought a bit here. Take a look at this <a href=http://year77.com/images/graph.png>[img]http://year77.com/images/graph.png"></a> In 2013, 40 to 60 Million (yes, million!) images were uploaded to Flickr every month. let me repeat that, 40 to 60 million pictures every month! That's about 600 million pictures a year and that number is growing. I think my friend was right when he said that pictures aren't worth anything anymore. They aren't special. For me, this is especially true as I see photo shopped "art" that looks more like cartoon work than photography. So in my mind, the question is not whether it is worth a picture but more what is a picture worth? For further consideration: [url]http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/what-happened-to-photography.html[/url] Cheers.