What is fine art photography

Art is what we decide is art

Keeping the statement above in mind, defining what makes a photo fine art is very subjective. However, there are several factors that seem to be considered when evaluating a photograph as fine art:

  1. Intention: A fine art photograph is typically created with the intention of expressing the photographer’s artistic vision or conveying a particular message or emotion. It is not simply a record of a scene or event, but rather an intentional creation.
  2. Creativity: A fine art photograph often demonstrates originality and creativity in its composition, lighting, and other artistic elements. It may be unconventional or challenge the viewer’s expectations.
  3. Technical skill: While technical skill alone does not make a photograph a work of art, a fine art photograph is typically well-executed and demonstrates a high level of technical proficiency.
  4. Emotional impact: A fine art photograph often evokes an emotional response in the viewer, whether it is a sense of beauty, wonder, contemplation, or some other feeling.
  5. Context: A fine art photograph is often presented in the context of an exhibition, gallery, or other artistic setting, rather than simply being used for commercial or journalistic purposes.

What makes a fine art photograph seems to be a combination of these factors, plus the opinion of the viewer. So again, subjectivity.

Personally I find intention (1) and emotional impact (4) the most convincing of this list. They are held up by creativity (2) and technical skill(3); you need vision and the ability to translate that vision into, in this case, a photograph.

Context (5) I have the most trouble with. We know that not everyone agrees that all work that is found in a museum is art. But that’s not what I have a problem with. It’s the idea that when a photograph is made for commercial or journalistic purposes it can’t be art. I’ve seen many examples of both that I would consider art. Most classical painters that draw crowds today made their work for commercial purposes. Does anyone doubt that Michelangelo’s work is art?

Can a photograph invoke an emotional response?

It seems that a big part of considering if something is art, is how we emotionally respond to it. So can a photo convey emotion, can it make you contemplate what you’re seeing or even inspire you? Of course, it can! I realize that photography - like no other medium - can produce artwork of chance; Little to no skill involved? We associate art with exceptional technical skill and are quick to dismiss art with, “I could have made that”. However, skill alone can’t produce art we need vision as well.

Therefor my response to the exclamation, “I could have made that” is often, “Perhaps, but you didn’t”. Technical skill is a lonely island without vision and creativity.

exclamation noun: a sudden cry or remark expressing surprise, strong emotion, or pain.

So, think before you start exclaiming dissatisfaction in front of an art piece, you might validate it ;-)

My fine art

I’ve added the tag fineart to the photos where my intention from the beginning was to create a fine art photograph. I also added the tag fineart when it felt like fine art after making the photograph.

Are you interested in a fine art portrait? Or one of my prints?

I welcome all questions and requests. Contact me using the chat balloon in the lower right corner.