A question that I tried to answer recently in a Squidoo lens that I wote. As I have intimated previously I take lots of photos but would not call them art by any stretch of the imagination. I think my conclusion was that it does not depend on the equipment or upon any post processing trickery but rather on being able to give the viewer an emotional response to the photograph.
For example, I love this little photo of a dandelion seed-head, it is cropped rather drastically,
I think it is a great picture but art? I played with some manipulation software and managed to come up with a couple of abstract images which I liked:
But although this seems somehow satisfying, I am not sure that I would call it art. I paint abstracts and am happy to consider them as art without any problem, however this seems to be a different issue. perhaps no skill required? But then again I make collages which could be said to be the same. Of course it is in the use of artistic principles that the collage becomes art, so why cannot an image abstracted from a photo be considered art. Not a question that I have resolved to my satisfaction.
To see my arguments and several responses read, Is All Photography Art?