a class or category of artistic endeavour having a particular form,
content, technique, or the like.
So genre is just a fancy way of describing a type or category of
the genre of rap music
the genre of landscape painting
the genre of symphonic music
the genre of portrait photography
the genre of gothic novels (literature)
the genre of science fiction films
These paintings are by the
artist known as Canaletto,
1697 – 1768.
What genre (type) of
paintings are they?
The genre of landscape
painting (or urban
What genre do these
paintings by the English artist
belong to? The genre of
How many different genres of painting can you
We can have different genres based on the different
type of subject matter:
Landscape (natural and urban)
And we could also talk about different styles of painting
as representing different genres:
We have seen that there are several different
genres of painting. Similarly, there are a few genres
The medium of photography is somewhat different
because it has many, many different genres!
Look at the following images, make notes as to
possible names for the different genres of
photography which you see
How many different categories – or
genres of photography did you spot?
Here are just a few of the different genres of
Which did you spot?
…………………. And more!
• Portraiture – attempts to capture personality
and soul. Can refer to time and place
• Landscape – shows different locations,
traditionally as a form of status, now includes
cityscape, seascape etc. Can discuss social,
political or environmental issues within
• Documentary – to capture a moment in time.
Can be journalistic, social, political...
• Fine art – focus on meaning and
communication, can include all genres, linked to
As we have seen, photography’s versatility means it has
many different genres.
Consequently, photography is very hard to ‘pin-down’ as
an artistic medium – it has so many different uses, styles,
categories, types …. genres!
In effect, photography sometimes seems to have no style
or characteristics which are unique and specific to the
medium itself – its sheer adaptability and versatility
Partly because of this, there are some people who argue
that photography is NOT a true artistic medium.
Extension Work: What do you think about this
argument … can photography be an art? Discuss.