I’ve noticed many people today think high school senior photography is not so much an art as just an acquired skill. As a photographer having studied the profession for some time now, I can honestly say it is quite a bit more than that, so in the interest of alleviating confusion, let’s define it. To do this we must first know the meaning of the word art, so bear with me. Britannica Online defines art as “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, and experiences that can be shared with others.” Note that art requires both skill and imagination, and nearly all forms including photography fall into two categories: applied art and fine art. Both have existed for thousands of years. What I discovered is that high school senior photography is really an applied art and is considered more a craft requiring a certain degree of imagination and creativity. To describe something as a craft is to describe it as lying somewhere between an art (which relies on talent) and a science (which relies on knowledge). No doubt photography relies on quite a bit of science; especially now in the digital age. My wireless radio transceivers, 3200 watt strobes that flash at a thousandth of a second, and thousand-dollar-plus optical lenses no doubt make use of the latest in both optical science and engineering. But like any other form of art, high school senior photography is an evolving process requiring knowledge, skill, and creativity in the areas of lighting, posing, composition, and style. No doubt fine art requires a more abstract form of talent and sometimes days, months, or even years to create a single piece of work. But applied art also requires its own form of talent in its ability to create multiple pieces of lasting value within a relatively short period of time. So in the end, even though each approach may be quite different, both truly are art because each requires skill and imagination to create those ”objects, environments, and experiences” that we can share throughout our lives… and beyond.