Why Create Fine Art (Artistic) Photographs – Part 2
The Composition of an Art Photography is Complex
The creation of an artistic photograph always begins with the shooting. We always place ourselves in the case of a real photograph and not a montage photo (we speak then of photographism and not about photography). The composition and the framing of an art photo art are very complex and difficult to achieve. Indeed, it must have several levels of understanding for an audience. Each level must give a way of being interpreted and judged.
An artistic photo does not reveal itself at first sight. It must be suggestive. It takes time to interpret and understand what the artist wanted translated. An audience must stand in front of an image when it is printed, contemplate it, interpret it and judge it emotionally. An artistic photograph suggests introspection, the search for oneself. Deciphering the meaning of an art photo takes time because it is not concrete or factual.
An Art Photograph Does Not Need to be Located
The geographical location of an artistic photograph of nature whether animal, landscape or underwater does not need to be specified. This information does not matter.
The geographical location can be named and specified in the form of a subtitle, but the important thing is that the photographed scene is at the service of the artistic vision of the photographer. It must serve as a support for the message that must be transmitted.
A know scene or a perfectly identifiable area by most people can be the subject of a great artistic photo. It is the photographer who will choose how he will embellish the scene to convey what he has to say.
An exceptional scene or behavior will not necessarily make an artistic picture. It will be if the photographer knows how to use the tools to the shooting and computer to highlight it. An exceptional scene is not a sufficient condition for the creation of a photographic work of art. For it to become so, it needs an emotional and sentimental content important otherwise it will be without artistic interest.
This point also marks a very big difference between artistic photography and documentary photography. A documentary photo must show an extraordinary place or an exceptional behavior. It is often the unexpected and the exceptional that characterizes this photographic genre. Moreover, by the fact that it is difficult to achieve or by the fact that it is a rare testimony, will give it its nobility. For example, a rare animal that is photographed is a good documentary photo. A distant landscape difficult to access or because it is very cold is a good documentary photo. An underwater image taken at very great depth is a good documentary image because it presents significant technical challenges. The challenge is one of the essential factors for a documentary photograph to be successful. It is the fact that few people can realize it that give it an important value. But anyway, it will certainly not be a good artistic photograph if the author did not use the scene to convey his emotions and his way of seeing the world.
Let's not forget that a documentary photographer does not have to get involved in the photo he makes. It is factual and not to express an opinion as it is.
Finally, all scenes that are banal or extraordinary obey the same principle to become artistic photos: they must serve the photographic vision of the photographer.
The Metaphorical Level of an Art Photo
As we mentioned earlier, an artistic photograph must be read on many levels. One of them and for us it's certainly the most important is the metaphorical level.
A metaphor is a figure of speech by which a term, a set of terms, or an idea is defined by a term or set of terms that normally means something else. For example, in our case, when we speak of a tree, we call it "a witness to the passing of time". When we see a sky laden with dark clouds we are referring to "the wrath of heaven".
Artistic photography, like other forms of art, can express itself in a metaphorical form. The question we are often asked is "Is it better to express an emotion in metaphorical form rather than using clear and more direct words? ". For us the answer is yes. Indeed, the art photography is not descriptive and is not factual. It reflects the photographer's opinion, sensitivity and emotions. Expressing metaphorically the character of a photographic work only prolongs the artistic photographer's vision and artistic approach.
If we take again the case of our trees, a documentary photographer would see there "perennial plants, ligneous, ramous which can reach at least 7 meters of height and bearing only durable branches only at a certain distance from the ground". As photographers who create fine art photographs, we see in the trees witnesses to passing times, who are impassive and who have been contemplating humanity for hundreds of years.
The use of metaphors is not always easy because they are arbitrary and engage only the author who uses them. Moreover, they vary from one culture to another.
In artistic photography, it is the elements of the scene that express the metaphor desired by the artist photographer. This method allows the artist to assert his vision and style.
Another example of research on photographic metaphor concerns gelada monkeys. It is a species only found in the highlands of Ethiopia. For us they are not monkeys but an anthropomorphic vision of our human societies. We never photograph human beings but thanks to the geladas, we can express how we see humans.
Finally, the use of metaphors gives a level of reading to photographic works created by an artist. It is necessary to know how to use them wisely so that audiences with diverse cultures can interpret and read them without causing misunderstandings as unintentional as they are.
Fine Art Photography Requires Quality
A photographer who wishes to create photographs of art must be irreproachable in the quality of the photos. By using the word quality, we imply several points that seem essential to us.
The word quality also implies that each photograph must be thought, thoughtful to match the artistic approach chosen by the artist.
The word quality includes the shots whether for the choice of the point of view or for the choice of the composition or for the choice of the framing. But quality also means perfect technical mastery in noise management and the quality of sharpness.
The word quality almost implies that the development of the photos must be technically flawless. This does not mean that the chosen aesthetic should please to everyone, but it means for example that the cropping, the removal of the spots of the sensor, the management of the horizon will have been made carefully with a lot of delicacy.
Finally, the word quality integrates the presentation of photographic works. The photographer must give a tremendous importance and should be strict how he will present his works to different audiences. He owes them respect. The support of the photographs, the frames, the frame liner must be chosen carefully. Nothing must be left to chance.
The evocation of these few points even if they are incomplete show that a qualitative creation of fine art photographs is very time-consuming. Each day being cut in 24 hours and every week in 7 days, quality must dominate the quantity.
Every detail counts when creating an artistic photograph. Nothing must be neglected. So, does the reputation of the photographer. A fine art photographer must never forget the respect it owes to the people who will look at its works. Without them, he would not exist.
Limited production is a guarantee of quality work because the time spent will be longer for each photograph. But a danger watches out for the author. We have not experienced it personally, but we have already observed it. When a work is created, and it is successful, it is very tempting to reproduce it using all the quality criteria that we have just mentioned. As the whole chain is mastered and known, it is very easy to do so-called copy-and-paste as in a word processor. The series becomes a series of almost identical photos as the first one. For us, this is a pretty serious mistake because the photographer falls back into mass production. Even if the quality of the final photos is present, the artistic quality is not. He favors quantity over quality. For us it is an act of non-respect of the audience.
Continued next week on Friday.