Defining photography in the art (and art show) world. This topic comes up regularly on the forums and photographers are confronted with it every weekend. Painters don't understand why they are not allowed (by show rules) to sell prints of their paintings if photographers are allowed to sell prints, considering photographs to be reproductions. Another problem is that photographers can be their own worst enemy in how they define their own medium photography as some don't understand what it is that they do. Recently on an art show forum, I posted that photography is a medium of multiple originals and another photographer told me that I was wrong and photographic prints are reproductions because when he places an order with his lab, they ask how many copies he wants. In doing a little research I came up with a logical answer that helps knowledgeable photographer define what they do the the unimformed.
Currently on the Ansel Adams web site, you can purchase Ansel Adams "original photographs" printed by his assistant or archival replicas (reproductions) that are scans of Ansel Adams original prints.
This statement falls in line with the definition of a print from the Glossary of Digital Art and Printmaking
1. In the context of fine art, an original work of art (as a woodcut, lithograph, photograph, or digital print) where the art object or artwork does not exist until it is printed. The print is made directly from the matrix by the artist or pursuant to his/her directions. Also known as "fine print," "work on paper," and "original print." 2. A physical image, usually on paper, produced by, but not limited to, such processes as etching, lithography, serigraphy, relief printing, photography, or digital methods. Prints are usually, but not always, produced on paper and in multiples. Traditional, photographic, and digital processes can be used to produce prints.
I realize that this might not help photographers explain to lay persons what it is that they do. But what they can do is define their work as making (as in creating) photographs and refer to lay people as taking pictures or taking snap shots.