Tommy and sister Nernie, Bowie, Maryland, 1974
The essence of every photograph, if it is to appeal to the emotions, is that it is a snapshot. Here is a snapshot I took when I was nine, of my Maine Coon cat, Tommy, and his grey-haired sister, Nernie. I was surprised at how patient they were with me. Posed though it is (and nicely so), it remains a snapshot. Thus, it is not "real" nor "art."
When people with cameras decide to get "serious" about the photography craft, they are imb(r)ued with the sotto voce instruction that they must undo everything they have hitherto learned and practiced about photography. "Snapshot" thus becomes the dirtiest of all sobriquets, and the newly-minted "fine arts" photographer instead shifts all his focus toward making "clever" images that are fraught with "irony." "Irony" is code language for "I am more hip and sophisticated than thou."
One positive side-effect of the digital photography craze is the reemergence of the snapshot, that impromptu photograph taken and enjoyed for its own sake.