A “fine art photographer” does not just capture what is in front of his camera at a particular moment. Fine-art photography is more than that. Fine art photographers create a picture in accordance with their vision as an artist. They want to express an idea, a message, or an emotion. The photo is just the medium to do so. Just recording the subject is more the purpose of documentary photography or just plain landscape photography.
Many fine art photographers move with their pictures towards simplicity or even minimalism or a rather abstract approach. A black and white finish is often added, although color is always an option too.
Fine art photographers buy a lot of freedom in processing their work. In their personal vision, they create an image to their liking and it does not necessarily correspond to what they really saw in the field. Either you take out disturbing elements from the photo or as mentioned even colour. In the post-processing software, they may even create a completely new reality.
Sometimes the idea can grow after the picture was taken and then the fine art is created on the computer. The best fine art photographers however already have a vision when capturing a certain scene. When I look at a chosen subject, I sometimes see it simply as a geometric shape or an arrangement of geometric shapes and try to record the sensation I see or feel at the moment. Pre-visualizing matters and imagination or fantasy play an important role. It takes guts to dare to be different.
People will respond with different sensations/emotions to different shapes, textures, lines, tones, colors, patterns, etcetera. The fine art photographer will respond to the subject with his personal perception of sensations, emotions, and mood.
As a fine art photographer, I will always try to examine the picture carefully through the viewfinder in order to previsualize what the camera will record or not. And in most cases, I already know before pushing the shutter, how to correct or process my picture later, to create a piece of fine art. This applies especially when I want to create long exposure pictures with that special mood. (I would like to invite you also to read my blogs on black and white landscape photography and on minimalism on my website)
Since this is a very personal process, every fine art photographer has his own definition of fine art photography. The post-processing can be very simple and straight forward but also very complex and time-consuming.
I would not call myself an overall fine art landscape photographer. But I have witnessed in my own work an
evolution of simplification over time. And a lot of my black and white pictures could definitely qualify as fine art landscape photography.
I am interested in your feelings and opinions. So, feel free to respond to this blog.
The Landscape Photo Guy