What is Fine Art Photography
by Eugene Struthers
What is Fine Art Photography
Also known as photographic art or artistic photography. It is a term used which has no universal agreed meaning or definition. It refers to an imprecise category of images captured in accordance with the photographer's creative vision. The concept behind “fine art photography” is to explore the boundary's of a subject, rather than just capturing a realistic rendition of subject matter. The photographer's aim is to produce a more personal point of view, more evocative and atmospheric – conveying a message and an impression of a thought process. It describes any image captured by a camera whereby the intention is aesthetic. To evoke thought and discussion. To be interpreted from many viewpoints and cause intrigue and interest. If you were to analysis Fine Art photography from a psychological point of view. It represents in its simplest form, images captured by a camera that expresses an artist's aesthetic ideology of the world around them through composition, focus, lighting and editing. Fine art photography reveals the photographer's interests and ideologies more so than other types of photography. It provides an insight into who the artists are and what type of concepts they are interested in. A window to the soul and mindset of the creator. The art needs to be interpreted in the context in which the artist intended it to viewed at. It is a style of photography that offers a harmonious composition of elements within a frame of reference which has content that provides aesthetic, sensory and surreal qualities. It heightens the emotional and psychological response of the observer. The fine art photographer is not that concerned by who the final client will be. Thus placing fewer restriction upon their work. It is a genre of photography that allows more personal freedom to explore unlimited creative visual opportunities and expressions. They are images which appear mostly in galleries, business interiors, or are purchased by private collectors.
The main aim of Fine Art Photography is to evoke an emotional response whilst making the viewer think.
The photographer needs to tune into their own feelings and thoughts to locate a subject matter or aspect of it, which has the most personal interest. They will need to approach and see their chosen subject of study as geometric shapes, symbolism, shapes, textures, tones, colours, patterns etc. What does their subject matter suggest, express in ways of emotion and sensation: mood. Is the image dull, delightful, sad, peaceful, tranquil, disturbed, thought-provoking, hate, love, beauty or turmoil etc. Fine art photography involves the principals of isolation, separating the subject matter from the rest of the whole surroundings. To evoke a personal response and create an element of expression and an artistic impression and meaning. Choosing the important subject matter elements, to isolate and bring out and highlight the most effective arrangement within the image via the assistance of the correct camera position, depth of field, focal length, aperture, shutter speed, lens, filter and exposure whether to deliberately over or under-expose.
A fine art photographer must encompass and incorporate all of the above to effectively communicate what his view-point is, in connection with his subject matter. Depending on the subject matter a fine art photographer may want to input all of these elements by simply apply a single element to express a message to the viewer. These elements are the graphic components which make up the image such as the lines, shapes, colours, textures, tones, contrast, balance and perspective. It also includes the expression and meaning of intent by the fine art photographer. Why he has chosen to eliminate some elements whilst including others. So is there a guide, a set of principals to follow when trying to capture fine art images. Whilst undertaking this assignment. I found that there is a basic guideline. This mainly revolves around the following:
Subject theme: This is essential as it outlines the main concept and idea behind the chosen elements applied within the image. Giving reason to the fact and elaborating on why they were chosen. It details the specific meaning and assists to focus the photographer.
Order: This brings out simplicity and clarity whilst making the viewer focus on certain elements to appreciate an images true meaning and expression.
Dynamics: The control and direction and focus of the elements applied within an image. To introduce mood and atmosphere within an image. Introducing a pattern and rhythm in the design by the use of patterns involving repetition configured in accordance with the balance and principal visual elements within the whole image.
Dominance: Aspects of the composition and the elements which have an overriding influence and dominate the image. Area's which the photographer would like to draw the viewers attention too.
Balance: Symmetrical is formulated and ordered and aligned to imply a defined thought process. Whilst asymmetrical is dynamic. It implies tension and creates a juxtaposition between different elements. It can provoke an expression of different viewpoints and intended meaning.
Proportion: The size of the objects and subject matter within an image. In relation to the other space allocated to minor or major objects. This can imply importance. Mainly used in fashion and advertising photography. To draw the viewers attention to a product or garment.
Introspective approach: The idea and impression, mood and atmosphere for the subject matter will be the guide for the image's composition and overall design.
Extrospective approach: The artists are guided by only the subject matter, composition and main visual characteristics.
Ambispective approach: This is a combination of both and assists to create depth and meaning to an image.
Fine art nude photography
Fine art nude photography is a style that depicts the human nude body as an art form. It should be distinguished from erotic photography, which has a sexually suggestive component. It is totally different from Glamour photography which places full emphasis on the model and her sexuality, treating the glamour as the primary subject. Fine art nude photography can be considered a study of the human body rather than the individual identity of the person. An image of a subjects face, identifies them and these are easily recognised and these are termed portraits. In nude photography a subjects face may never be seen. Fine art nude photography is a stylised depiction of the form and structure of the nude anatomy, taking into consideration it's line, contours, its outline, contrast, texture, tone, smoothness. The fine art photographer will use his knowledge and skills to create clever lighting so that shadows draw the viewers line of sight into the image to appreciated the form, structure, contrast and distinct contour which defines tone and colour differences between the shadows created. It is the visual composition of lines, shapes and patterns. To create a juxtaposition between contrast and a balance of symmetry. Which in turn will assist the photographer to create depth and the illusion of a three dimensional object. What is classified as the “chiaroscuro” which means light and dark. Into the dark we bring the light.
Types of fine art photography:
Documentary: The image needs to emphasis the subject matter and impart information about the subject matter.
Interpretive: The image needs to emphasis the artists thoughts and feelings about the subject matter.