A pretty photography is one that superficially appeals but leaves you wanting more. A photograph devoid of intellectual capacity, asks no questions, has no point of view, is merely a record albeit one that is often well composed with harmonious colour arrangement.
It is a pretty photograph but it aint art.
Pretty is a one trick pony.
The photographer who gets up at 3am to get the sun rise shot of a particular scene is out to make a pretty picture of what most people see at midday. No doubt it will get the oo’s and ah’s at the exhibition but it is just a trick of the light. The art of the scene lies in the way it interacts with it viewers, it’s what the photographer feels and knows and how they use that knowledge to create a conversation with the viewer through their image. For any meaningful conversation to take place the language employed must be understood by both. And although I may be in impressed by the wonderful sun rise the place I know is seen in the harsh noon light. I am unable to relate, I must take the photographer at their word which makes the conversation decidedly one sided.
Great photography like great painting or great poetry or great music is not about images or words or sounds, it is about ideas and feelings and creating a conversation with the viewer about those ideas and feelings. The photograph taken in the harsh midday light that can talk about the soft light of dawn is well on the way to being beyond pretty, it is in the realms of art.