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« Natural Wonders of Red Rock Canyon in Black and White » - A Collection of Fine Art Photos

Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. Photograph in black and white by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Written by
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« Natural Wonders of Canyon de Chelly in Black and White » – A Collection of Fine Art Photos

Spyder Rock in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Photograph in black and white by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.

Friday, May 29, 2020
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Why and How: Mastering the 6 Steps of The Creation of Photographs – Part 2

Click Here to Read the Previous Part of the Article.
Lanscape in black and white of the White House inside the Canyon de Chelly in Arizona in United States. Photograph by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.
The White House inside the Canyon de Chelly, in Arizona, United States.

Step #4: Properly Develop Your Photographs

Once your photographs have been taken in the field, you will download them to the computer. You will follow these steps:

  • Editing.
  • Organisation.
  • Sorting.
  • Selection.

Once you have selected your photos, you will start developing them. You must always keep in mind that the development of your photos has only one goal: to strengthen your photographic artistry.

You must choose your development tools and method correctly. For example, if you are developing animal photos, there is no point in using a portrait editing software. Likewise, if you develop underwater photos, using a software dedicated to architecture will be of no use to you.

The choice of tools is crucial. Today dozens of plug-ins software is available on the market. I recommend you to test them before choosing one to integrate it into your digital workflow. Each photographer has his own sensitivity. Each one will need tools that correspond to him.

Do not always listen to what other photographers tell you. Do not necessarily buy the tools described in magazines. Only tests will allow you to validate what you really need.

Personally, I only use Photoshop. There are two reasons for this technique:

  • The non-destructive effect of the effects applied.
  • Use of masks.

Indeed, I consider that a photograph can only be developed by successive strokes.

During my photo workshops, when I explain the development techniques, I always insist on the fact that a sky cannot have the same treatment as a forest or a mineral landscape.

In wildlife photography, a coat is not developed in the same way as a plumage.

All the components of a photograph are treated differently. It would be far too long to explain the development techniques for each photographic field.

But each digital stream respects the following phases:

  • The cropping.
  • The cleaning of the photo if necessary: sensor stains.
  • The noise management.
  • The toning management.
  • The color management if necessary.
  • The customized development: black and white for example.
  • The sharpness management according to the output media: paper or screen.

The purpose of the digital flow and to create a photograph corresponds to your photographic artistry and which is intended for a particular medium.

Step #5: Printing

In my opinion, a photograph only exists if it is printed. During all the previous steps you have an image. As long as it is visible on a screen a picture is called an image.

Printing is a fundamental step in the life of a photograph.

You will choose the paper according to tones, colors, acidity. The more acidic a paper is, the less it lasts over time. To print, you must use a multi-cartridge printer.

The purchase of a professional printer is affordable. Today, for a few hundred euros or dollars, it is possible to have a professional quality printer in your home. The cost comes from the paper and especially the ink. The manufacturers sell the printers without making a margin of profit. It is the sale of ink cartridges that ensures their income. If you do not want to invest in a personal printer, you have the possibility to print your photos through a specialized lab.

Personally, this is the solution I have chosen for my prints in widths exceeding 60 cm (23 inches). The cost of a quality print is extremely high. If you go through an online service, the prices are affordable, but the quality of the prints will be rather poor. For black and white, the blacks will be to deep. For color, the tints will not be the ones you have on your calibrated screen.

My goal is not to describe the best labs on the market because this article is intended to make you aware of the steps of the creation of a photo, but be aware that to print a photo in large format, the price is often more than 100 € or $100.

It is up to you to do some tests to find the lab that best suits your photographic activity.

Step #6: Showing Your Photos

Once you have printed a photograph and laminated it to a rigid backing to ensure it will last over time, you must submit it.

If you have chosen Dibond or Masonite as a support, you can hang it directly on a wall with the wall hooks provided for this purpose on the back of the photo. I advise you to choose the right glue for your fasteners. If you chose a cheap glue, expect to unhook it after a few months. It will be the loss of your photo because the Dibond will break.

The best solution remains the framing under glass or acrylic.

Acrylic has the advantage of not being as fragile as glass. But be careful when using museum acrylic: your photos will look blurry. Basic acrylic causes reflections but your photos will remain sharp.

What I recommend is to use glass for small prints and acrylic for large prints. The presentation with a frame really enhances your photographic works but it also protects the photos for an exceedingly long time. I consider that with a quality frame the photographs are really finished.

Finally

The creation of a photograph is taking place in 6 phases:

  • The photographic approach.
  • The definition of a photo project.
  • The field photography.
  • The development on a computer.
  • The printing on paper.
  • The Presentation with a frame.

Now you understand why creating beautiful photography is a time-consuming and difficult process. You are a long way from the simple click of a camera.

You also understand why quality artistic photography is expensive to purchase.

Now that you have read this article and understood each of the steps, all you need to do is set up an action plan to create unique photos that make sense, have impact and look like you.

Be constant, persevering and persistent because the road to excellence is long.

Friday, May 22, 2020
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Why and How: Mastering the 6 Steps of The Creation of Photographs – Part 1

Are you able to describe the entire process of creating interesting photographs?

Do you feel like you are making progress in photography and creating photos that really make an impact?

If the answer to both of these questions is no, then this article is for you. I will explain the six main steps in creating a photograph.

After reading this article, you will be able to choose the right actions to create nature photos that look like you and are unique.

Landscape in black and white of Canyon de Chelly Arizona in United States. Photograph by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.
On the heights of Canyon de Chelly in Arizona in United States.

The Little Story of this Article

It is 6:00 AM in the morning. The sun is coming up. The mist completely surrounds me. I am under my floating blind in Dombes in France.

I am living an intense moment in my life as a nature photographer.

In front of me the pond is slowly awakening. I guess heron shapes: gray or purple, I do not know. I am stuck behind my camera. With my 500 mm telephoto lens, I scan every nook and cranny of the pond.

I am ideally placed with the light coming from the side. I am in manual focus because the fog prevents the autofocus from working. I am in an ecstatic phase as only nature provides me. I have been standing in the pond for 30 minutes.

It is in these intense moments of inspiration that ideas come to me. Today, I am thinking about the different phases of creating a good photo.

If I am here today, it is not by chance. Everything was prepared even though I was not fully aware of it. I think back on all the actions I have undertaken and all the steps I have taken to be present in one of the most beautiful places in the world for wildlife photography.

Using the microphone of my camera, which is placed on the gimbal head, I record this article. Once again, I think it is a fundamental one. I have a duty to share it with all those who want to progress. My joy and exaltation are so intense that I do not need to think. Everything comes naturally to me.

Why Mastering the 6 Steps of Photographic Creation?

You are probably wondering why you should know the six steps of photographic creation.

You tell yourself that photography consists of having a camera in your hands and then going out into the field to have fun.

But you may be one of the cohort of photographers who only take their cameras out for a trip or a relaxing weekend. I think that is bad. You waste your talent and energy only on rare occasions.

Knowing and mastering the stages of photographic creation will allow you to envisage photography in a different way. When you are out in the field photographing nature, you will create more interesting pictures that have meaning and impact.

What is more, and this is the icing on the cake, you will think about photography even when you are at home or at work. Your photographic mind will always work, and not just in the field.

How Mastering the 6 Steps of Photographic Creation?

My method is simple.

Just read this article and then take a pencil and paper to write down actions you need to take before your next photo shoot.

Never forget that learning and knowledge without action means nothing.

Take your photographic destiny into your own hands: act!

Step #1: Define Your Photographic Approach

The photographic approach is the most upstream phase for the creation of your photographs.

In my opinion, it is the most important for the photographic act. 95% of photographers, professional or not, did not attach importance to this crucial stage.

It is during this phase that you will define:

  • Your photographic artistry.
  • Your photographic why.
  • Your motto.
  • The text that will justify your photographic activity.

During the photographic approach phase, you have to do a photographic introspection.

You have to forget about technology, your camera, the developpements. You have to answer such fundamental questions of why you decided to use a camera.

It is during this stage that you will build the foundations of your photographic building.

If this approach is well done, you can always rethink it when you have doubts about your ability to create photos. You will always find an intellectual refuge from the sharp criticism of some people.

Defining your photographic approach well is the guarantee for you in the future to remain serene, confident, to keep your confidence to move forward.

Step #2: Define Your Photographic Projects

Once all the elements of your photographic approach are in place, you can define the contours of your photo projects. It is even easier now that you have a clear photographic approach.

You will be able to define what you can and cannot photograph.

If, for example, you have chosen to photograph European mammals, it will be of no interest for you to go to Costa Rica to photograph the birds, even if they are exceptionally beautiful.

By perfectly defining your photographic projects you will not lose time by getting lost on crossroads. You will concentrate on what is important to you. You will create photos that look like you.

With your vision and photographic style, you will truly create photos that have meaning and impact.

To properly define your photographic projects, I encourage you to follow the following steps:

  • Write down your ideas on a piece of paper.
  • Watch that they are consistent with your vision.
  • Start thinking about the story you are going to tell for each of them

Step #3: Get Your Shots Right on the Field

Now that your project has been defined, written, thought out, thought about, it is time to get out in the field.

In the previous phase, you have certainly defined the story you are going to tell to your viewers or to your audience.

You have written a story board that contains all the key elements and highlights to photograph.

For example, if you chose a topic about the deer's bugling, you decided to tell about the awakening of nature during the dawn. Then the appearance of a deer in an open space to open your story. You noted that you needed fights, a mating scene, a close-up of a deer bugling. In short, you have all the key points to photograph.

The realization of the shots requires the recognition of the field, the lights, the search for good photographic elements to highlight your subjects.

You have to choose your foreground, backgrounds, and negative spaces to reinforce your story and especially your photographic vision.

You have written the list of photos to be taken. Once they are taken, you will check the box and move on to the next scene. You must always follow your story board.

If you photograph wild animals, you must also have in mind the making of the ground blinds.

If you have chosen a photo project related to landscape photography, the use of an ephemeris type application is a plus for choosing where to stand.

In the context of underwater photography, the preparation of your dives is even more essential. Indeed, as the dive times and the number of dives per day are limited, if you have not prepared your dives, you will not have the consistency and coherence that are the strength of good photo projects.

Act now to prepare for the realization of your photos in the field.

Step #4: Properly Develop Your Photographs

Click Here to Read the Next Part of the Article.
Friday, March 01, 2019

My Purpose for Waking up Each Day

The Reason I Get Up Every Day

I wake up each day with one goal in mind: to help others by giving everything I can.

My Reasons for Choosing Photography

I chose artistic photography to embrace my passion for the wonders of nature, to express myself, and to bring happiness to the people I meet in daily life or while traveling.

I do not know how to write novels or poems. I cannot paint or draw. I cannot compose music.

One thing I do know is how to create photographs and talk about them.

I would like to help anyone who wants to reconnect with nature.

  • I create art photography to help people escape life by reconnecting with nature..
  • I organize photo workshops to help photographers craft unique pictures..
  • I write articles for this blog to share my skills in photography and to help others explore new creative avenues.

Expressing Myself in Photography

My photographic and artistic vision can be summed up as follows:

  • Nature evokes beauty, fragility, calmness, peace, and serenity.
  • Nature is an invitation to dreams and to introspection.
  • Nature photography is a means of expression.
  • Nature photography allows me to reveal what I find to be aesthetic.
  • Nature photography can be used to reflect the reality of the world around me.

Revealing My Vision of the World

Wavering between effervescent dreams and defined elegance, my photographic work unites both ideas in a new path through the theme of “Nature”.

I am a flexible photographer. I construct photographic media using various digital tools to design abstract pieces of art.

I define my work as a concentration of photographic shooting by revealing a fragment of a landscape or an animal scene.

As a result, I provide the possibility of perceiving the world down to microscopic details, which is accomplished through a refined image.

This photographic simplification is pushed to the extreme by my hands. Even the shooting is simplified, regardless of the surrounding environment.

Through this method, my photography gains independence and purity.

I strive to highlight the infinity of nature outside of time.

The exercise of contemplation which I encourage derives its strength from sensitive experiences, stemming from a deeply empirical and personal relationship with nature.

I bring a beautifully unique interpretation of new technology. Virtual reality is reflected through the fleeting aspect of natural elements, thus forging relevant connections between technical, immaterial, and sensual details .

Summarizing My Professional Artistic Activity

For amateur photographers who long to create beautiful photographs, I propose that you seek to find peace and serenity in your daily life, your art prints and the nature surrounding you.

Unlike posters available in department stores or furniture stores, my artistic prints are unique, luxurious, concise, and will not deteriorate with the passing years.

Each photographic work is limited to 8 copies. It is signed and delivered with its certificate of authenticity. This is a guarantee to you that it will increase in value over time.

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Friday, May 15, 2020
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Why and How: Avoiding the 3 Fundamental Errors in Photography – Part 2

Click Here to Read the Previous Part of the Article.
Sunrise over the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia. Photograph in color by Amar Guillen, artist photographer.
Sunrise over the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia.

Error n°2 to Avoid in Photography: Not Having a Good Reason to Create Your Photos

Strangely enough, when I ask photographers why they take pictures, the only answer they can give me is a long introspective silence.

Have you ever asked yourself this essential question of why you practice photography?

Answers such as to relax, take my mind off things, think about something else are quite commendable. I have nothing to object. But for me they are totally insufficient.

If you do not have a photographic Why, because that is what it is all about, you are committing one of the three fundamental errors of photography and that photographic Why must be solid.

The reason is simple. If you do not know why you are doing something, you are not close to reaching a goal and setting creative goals.

In the context of photography, without a strong photographic Why you will not succeed in creating relevant, consistent and coherent series over time.

Your Photographic Why will profoundly define why you take your camera and go into the field.

Without it, you will certainly create some interesting pictures sometimes, but it will be episodic and totally random. The photographic Why is your main strength, it is like a motto that will allow you to define your attachment to photography. It is the one that will motivate you, push you to move forward, to always go further.

The photographic Why is finally the image of your life. You have probably already asked yourself what the meaning of your life is, why you get up every morning, why you chose certain paths. Well, for your photographic activity you have to proceed in the same way.

If you have not already done so, I advise you to clearly and precisely define your photographic Why.

You will thus avoid one of the three fundamental mistakes in photography. You will only be able to improve yourself and create interesting photos for your audience.

Error n°3 to Avoid in Photography: Not Being in the Action

In the description of the first two mistakes to avoid, I have given you some advices on how to find simple solutions. Reading, learning, thinking is an excellent start to developing a method.

But never forget that acting will really enable you to be effective and achieve real results.

This is not only true in the definition of your photographic artistry or your photographic Why, it is also true in all fields.

I will always remember meeting a photographer in Yosemite, California. I was taking some landscape photos when he approached me to start a conversation.

I remember I could not say a word. He asked me why I was not photographing the waterfalls that were so numerous in this region.

I did not have time to answer him that he was already explaining the technique of long exposure to create a dreamlike and unreal atmosphere with the waterfalls.

For almost 15 minutes, he gave me a lecture on the pros and cons of this photo technique by explaining the choice of photo filters, the right speed, the calculation of exposure time, the management of depth of field, the composition.

In the meantime, he had taken out his phone to show me his photographic portfolio. Not seeing any long exposure photos, I asked him if he could show me some so that I could see how this expert was applying all his know-how. I think it is always good to learn from others.

I was very surprise that he had not realized one yet. He had an encyclopedic culture on the technical subject, but he had not acted.

I could multiply this kind of example, but I think you understood what I meant.

During my photo workshops I always tell the participants that:

  • Knowledge without action is worthless.
  • Learning without application is useless.

I advise you to always learn and deepen your knowledge, but to take action to check that you are on the right track.

If you are content to acquire encyclopedic skills on technical subjects without applying them you will be wasting your time.

That's true for:

  • The approach to photographic creation.
  • The shooting.
  • The editing.
  • The development.
  • The printing on paper.
  • The presentation of your photographs.

Always apply what you have learned. Always be in action right after learning.

Finally

I hope you have understood the three fundamental errors in the approach to photographic creation.

For the record, I remind them:

  • The absence of a photographic artistry.
  • The absence of the photographic Why.
  • The lack of action.

I hope I have convinced you that it was essential for you to find answers to these questions or to correct your shortcomings.

You absolutely have to act if you really want to create interesting photos for your audience and viewers. You need to adopt a method by writing down all the ideas on paper or on your computer.

Then, try to come up with simple ideas to implement before you go out into the field.

Then, you will prepare your next sessions or your new photo project according to this method.

Finally, you will apply everything you have learned in the field. You will implement your strategy and methodology.

By avoiding these three mistakes, I guarantee that your photographs will be all the more interesting and will have much more impact. This is what happened to me many years ago now.

Be constant, persevering and persistent because the road to excellence is long.

Friday, May 08, 2020
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Why and How: Avoiding the 3 Fundamental Errors in Photography – Part 1

You like to take pictures for photographic projects or to keep a record of the intense moments you have experienced.

However, they will remain preciously stored in your computer's memory. They will remain invisible. Why will they remain invisible? Because you have made at least one of the three mistakes that many photographers make without realizing it.

In this article I will explain how to discern them, apprehend them and avoid reproducing them.

Welcome to a new photographic artistry.

Red Deer Stag Bugling in France in October. Photograph by Amar Guillen, artist photographer.
Red Deer Stag Bugling in France in October.

The Little Story of This Article

You are certainly passionate about nature photography. Whether it is close to your home or on trips to faraway places, you always bring back wonderful photographic memories.

But I am sure that when you come back home, you copy all these photographs to your computer's hard drive and then save them on an external medium.

Then the days, weeks and months go by. You have almost forgotten all those photographs. You do not pay attention to them anymore. You have already moved on.

Many years ago, I also had this forgetfulness behavior. I was like you.

But the photos I was taken were well composed, well framed. Technically, they were good. But once the exhilaration of the trip was over, I forgot that I had many underwater, animal or landscape photographs in stock. It was like that until I began to turn to professional artistic photography that I gradually understood why I had so many dormant photographic projects. I made three essential mistakes in my approach to the creation of my photographic projects:

  • My photographic artistry was not perfectly defined.
  • I did not have a strong reason to create photos.
  • I was not in the action.

In the rest of this article, I will detail each of these points.

But before continuing, I would like to point out that the articles in my creative photography blog focus mainly on the approach to the creation of photographs. I do not address problems related to cameras or photo development. Other sites already do. I think that the approach of photographic creation which is the most upstream phase of photography is also the most essential to create interesting pictures.

The three errors I am going to mention are related to this phase.

Why Avoiding the Three Fundamental Errors in Photography

As always, I think that before putting in place a method of applying advice, it is important to ask why it is being done.

In this case, knowing why you should avoid the three fundamental errors in photography will allow you to:

  • Save a lot of time during your shots because you will have well-defined photographic goals to hold.
  • Create more coherent and consistent photographic series.
  • Better prepare yourself before you leave for a photo shoot.
  • Gather people who will appreciate your photographs whether it is during exhibitions, on social networks in your family setting.

Avoiding these three mistakes in photos will allow you to create easily and last over time

How Avoiding the Three Fundamental Errors in Photography

Once you figure out the why, all you have to do is figure out the how. The solution is to put in place a method that is:

  • Simple.
  • Rigorous..
  • Easy to set up before and during your photo projects.

This method will allow you to always follow the tags of a path that you have traced to create your photographs.

It is beyond the scope of this article to explain this method in a precise and detailed manner. It would be far too long to explain. However, the broad outlines are as follows:

  • Define why you are taking pictures.
  • Be able to explain in a few second to an interlocutor the reasons of your photographic activity.
  • Write a slogan that defines you in a few words.
  • Define your style.
  • Define your vision.
  • Know how to accurately judge your strengths, assets and weaknesses.
  • Know how to highlight your photographic achievements.

The ideal is to write down all these points on paper or with a computer. Be specific. Then learn them by heart. I have respected and continue to apply this process in my professional activity.

Error n°1 to Avoid in Photography: Not Having a Photographic Artistry

After years of studying the photographic activity of many professionals or photographers during my nature photography workshops, I found that 95% of them did not have a photographic artistry.

The photographic artistry is composed of:

  • The photographic vision.
  • The photographic style.

If you do not have a defined photographic artistry, you will take pictures without having precise photographic themes.

You are going to photograph the scenes without having a specific goal in mind. There will be no logic, no link that connects the photos to each other. There will be chaos in your projects.

The first consequence of the absence of a photographic artistry is that when you are going to organize your photos on the computer, you are going to choose images on technical criteria and not to tell a story because you will not have one in mind.

The consequence is that when you go out in the field you will not know exactly where to stand, how to highlight your photographic scenes, how to choose your light, how to choose your photographic elements.

You will choose points of view, compose and frame only according to the technical criteria you have learned.

But these actions will not reflect your personality. You will be doing what other photographers do. You will be no different. Your photographs will be technically very good, but they will not have the special flavor of what you have deep inside: your soul.

A good definition of a photographic artistry allows you to create different, unique photos that look like you.

Not defining your photographic artistry is the guarantee for you to be like other photographers and to make photos that have already been seen. You will interest nobody, or almost nobody.

Avoid making this mistake by starting now to define your photographic artistry to show who you really are.

Error n°2 to Avoid in Photography: Not Having a Good Reason to Create Your Photos

Click Here to Read the Next Part of the Article.
Friday, May 01, 2020
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Why and How: Creating Conceptual Photographs

Have you ever considered creating conceptual photographs from the natural elements?

Have you ever tried to show more than reality to give another vision to what you really perceive.

Conceptual photography is one of the answers to your questions and expectations.

One of my favorite areas of artistic nature photography is conceptual photography.

In this article, I will give you some elements to go further than illustrative photography.

You are about to enter a universe where only your imagination is the limit.

Conceptual photograh created with reflection of a landscape of Yellowstone on water. Fine art work from the collection 'Forgotten Paradises'.
Conceptual photograh created with reflection of a landscape of Yellowstone on water.

The Little Story of this Article

A few years ago, I became interested in the Bauhaus School of Art. At the time, I was looking to create artworks that were not simply beautiful and decorative. I wanted my photographs not only to make sense, but also to be useful to everyone who bought them: art lovers, collectors, designers. I liked the Bauhaus idea very much.

While doing further research, I had the chance to discover the photographer Andreas Gursky. He fascinated me. His very particular photographic artistry inspired me a lot in my own artistic approach.

I will always remember the day I admired one of his works entitled "Rhein II". I spent long minutes contemplating it. I was literally hypnotized. To this day, I cannot explain why. Then I discovered that it was one of the most expensive photographic artworks in the world. Its value was several million euros. But for me, this market value was of no important. I understood why an enlightened amateur had acquired it.

That day marked the beginning of my interest in conceptual photography. It was a real turning point in my life as an artist. Even today, when I am in the field, I still have this extraordinary creation in mind. I had entered a world where only my imagination, my emotions, my sensations have their place.

I will now give you the keys to open the doors to a fabulous world where photographic creativity reigns.

The Two Domains of Photography

When you do a photographic project, I recommend that you always classify it in one of the two domains of photography.

This classification that I have created, and which serves as a support for all my work as a photographic artist is the result of a discussion, I had with a friend whose name is Philippe Soubirous. He is a talented photographer who has an immeasurable general culture about photography. It is to him that I owe the rule that I often use in the field. In natural light to get a good exposure at ISO 100, you need a speed of 1/125th of a second for an aperture at f/8. He holds this rule from his father.

On a trip to a distant sea, we were talking in his cabin. That day, our topic was the differences between emotional and figurative art photography. After a few hours of discussion, which ended under a beautiful starry sky, we concluded that it was easy to distinguish between two different photographic domains:

  • Illustrative photography.
  • Artistic photography.

The domain of artistic photography divides itself into two genders:

  • Meaningful photography.
  • Conceptual photography.

Illustrative Photography

Illustrative photography is used as a medium for magazine articles, advertising titles for a commercial product. As its name suggests, it is used to illustrate a written, oral or visual statement.

In this photographic domain, the photographer creates photographs in which he does not deliver messages. The images are factual. They correspond to a very precise editorial line. The photographs describe, show, illustrate or reinforce the message of the text.

In illustrative photography, the viewer is informed. These photos are not made to dream, to imagine. They are set up so that the audience can project themselves into a place described by words.

Artistic photography

Artistic photography aims to give photographers a means of expression. They can thus convey their emotions, convey messages, express ideas.

The photographer speaks, shows his soul. He's not afraid to show what he really thinks. He does not depend on a third person to tell him what to show. He does not depend on a written or visual to be illustrated.

Only the story he chose to tell matters. It does not describe reality. This is for example the case of black and white photography.

Artistic photography is symbolic, elliptical, parabolic.

Artistic photography is divided into two genders:

  • The gender of conceptual photography.
  • The gender of meaningful photography. It carries meaning.

In meaningful photography, the image always carries a message. The viewer will read this message. It's a direct connection that I call 1-to-1. The message deciphered by the audience is formatted by the photographer.

In conceptual photography, the photographer expresses an emotion, a message, an idea but the viewer will see something else. He is free to choose.

Definition of Conceptual Photography

Conceptual photography is a photographic gender that illustrates an idea.

The idea is a representation developed by the thought corresponding to a word or phrase.

To sum up in one sentence, I can therefore say that conceptual photography is a photographic gender that is a representation elaborated by the thought corresponding to a word or a phrase.

Conceptual photography is part of the domain of artistic photography.

The Birth of Conceptual Photography

Before going any further, it seems important to me, as always, to set the general framework.

The term conceptual photography derives from the movement called conceptual art in the 1960s.

Conceptual art is defined not by the aesthetic properties of objects or works, but only by the concept or idea of art.

The idea takes precedence over the realization.

In conceptual art, the artist can do without the object.

From its birth, the foundations of conceptual photography were laid and will be solid. It is interested in the idea and its illustration. It is not interested in reality and the relationships it can have with it.

Conceptual photography has several goals:

  • It wants to change all the codes of artistic photography, whether it be for compositions, framing, or highlighting a subject.
  • It does want to be emotional.
  • It only wants raw objectivity.

From the very beginning, the creators of this photographic gender say that conceptual photography is not about making beautiful photographs but about explaining them.

This is for that reason that many conceptual photographic creations are accompanied by explanatory texts that provide arguments relating to the author's photographic and artistic approach.

Since that time, many photographers have explored this creative path of photography, but many have forgotten the foundations and main principles of the gender: they have lost their way.

If you decide to devote part of your photographic activity to this gender, never forget these main principles. They will always guide you in your approach.

Why Creating Conceptual Photos

As you may have understood, conceptual photography is a way to represent ideas.

You may have a lot of ideas about how you see the world, how you view social relationships, how you want to defend nature, etc.

Rather than trying to create illustrative photographs why not trying to suggest your thoughts and ideas.

Maybe you do not want to, or you cannot write prose or poetry. You are more of a visual person. You find it easier to assemble photographic elements than to put your voice into a recording or roll the ball of your pen over white paper. All you have to do is thinking and taking conceptual photographs.

To help you get into this state of mind, here is a quote that will help you.

In conceptual art, the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. The conceptual artist's goal is to make his work mentally interesting to the viewer.
Sol Lewitt.

How Creating Conceptual Photos

As I have already written in another article, for a photograph to be successful it must tell a story. This story is told either by the assembly of the photographic elements, or by the text, or by the title that accompanies it.

Conceptual photography is not an exception to this rule. You must create photographs that have impact. Keep in mind that in this gender, the viewer invents his or her own story by looking at your photographs.

You have the possibility to explore the way to create your conceptual photographs:

  • By construction at the shoot. For example, by using abstraction.
  • By narrative and style. The title and text accompanying the photos will help the viewer.

But the most important advice I will give you is to keep it as simple as possible. Always keep this quote in mind.

What is well conceived is clearly stated.
Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, 1674.

When Boileau-Despréaux wrote this quotation in 1674, he was certainly not thinking of photography.

I think that quote still stands. It never leaves my mind.

Keep in mind that photography has its words, its vocabulary: its language. Learn it, implement it in the field and keep it simple.

If I had to sum up the how of conceptual photography, I would say that you just have to have an idea, find a way to implement it in your photos and then go out into the field to express it. Let your imagination wander.

A Conceptual Photo Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the image.

Finally

To conclude I will say that to create your conceptual photos, I recommend that you list two or three ideas that you want to develop to show your vision of the world. Write them down, imagine how to implement them. Do not forget to be simple, direct. Go beyond illustrative photography. It will only make you better and your photographs will become more interesting.