Why: Artistic Photography is Subjective

Photography in general is subjective.

Artistic photography specifically is even more so. Whether it is the photographer, author, or the collector of photographic works, each person’s choices are subjective and personal.

If the photographer focuses on being objective, he loses his status as an artist. Each creative act must be subjective for it to lead to an interesting and worthwhile work.

CThis artistic photograph of a buffalo is subjective because the choice of the attitude, the composition, the framing.
This artistic photograph of a buffalo is subjective because the choice of the attitude, the composition, the framing.

How to Define Subjectivity

Subjectivity is the quality of that which does not give a faithful representation of an observed thing, as it varies with each person.

We also like this definition stating that subjectivity is the presence of someone who considers reality only through his state of consciousness and not others.

The Creative Act is Subjective

An artistic photograph is the result of a particular vision. It is created when the artistic photographer makes specific choices in the composition, the framing, and the photographic elements. This detailed labor conveys emotions or personal messages.

An artistic photograph reflects the temperament or the moods of a person. It reflects who the author is.

From the moment a photographer focuses on pleasing the greatest number of people, just because it is in the air, he ceases to be an artist. One could say that he becomes a craftsman or a salesman. However, he is just creating pictures without a purpose. In no case can he claim the status of artist.

Being an artist, especially in photography, is neither better nor less than being a craftsman. As we wrote in this article, it is a social status that has its specificities.

An artist photographer must be subjective. If he becomes objective in his shots, he will make descriptive photographs to illustrate magazine articles and books. Whether it is wildlife or underwater photography, these creators are referred to as naturalists.

From our point of view, being a naturalist is a fundamental and essential distinction from being an artist.

The Act of the Collector is Subjective

Our main clients are collectors of artistic photographs. We never know why they are interested in our works. When we discuss a purchase with our client, we always discover unexpected reasons for their interest in the product. For some, our works evoke childhood memories. For others, it is the tranquility of the scenes. It could also be that the marriage of a vivid imagination and our photograph provoke a metaphysical interrogation.

Finally, we also know collectors who buy our works because they correspond to their aesthetic criteria.

Each criterion is subjective. Nothing is ever predictable.

One must never forget that an artistic photograph results from the artist’s interpretation of a scene and the viewer's perception of it.

Subjectivity is not Synonymous with Popularity

The more subjective an artistic photograph is, the less likely it is to be appreciated by the greatest number of viewers.

Indeed, if a photographer artist is not seeking a compromise in trying to satisfy the greatest number of viewers or trying to appeal to the widest audience, it will drastically reduce his hearing because the number of common points will decrease.

It is true that in modern society, success is measured by the number of views or the number of followers, which is difficult for many photographers. Many of them mistakenly think that because they have a large audience, they will succeed in their artistic field. This is a terrible mistake on their part.

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During these last years, we learned that we should not confuse notoriety and incomes. In our case, we are not mad users of social media networks. We use them sparingly and wisely. We use social media networks for marketing purposes only. These outlets are not used in such a way to reveal everything about us or our work. We especially do not rely on these networks to attract the largest number of likes or followers.

Creating artistic photographs by being deliberately subjective is a totally different act than being factual. The more factual or descriptive a photographer is, the less he will solicit the culture of the people he is addressing. He will focus on finding the common denominator of the crowd, and then heavily weigh upon that one theme or aspect. He will have fewer personal satisfactions when creating works, and his products will become repetitive. His purpose will be creating pleasant works to satisfy the greatest number of people. This is not the goal of an artistic vision, and we are not interested in this profession.

The more an artist-photographer creates personal works, the smaller the audience, however, the quality of his artistic approach will be recognized as priceless.

Subjectivity or Objectivity: A Question of Choice

Creating artistic works is a subjective choice on the part of an artistic photographer. Creating descriptive or illustrative photographs is an objective choice on the part of a general photographer.

Neither choice is better than the other. It's just a matter of choice that must be assumed by the photographer. The important thing is to be satisfied and happy with the choices one has made.


An artist photographer assumes his subjective choices when he creates photographic works.

His choices were analyzed and understood. He must accept the consequences: the notoriety should not be the goal but a consequence. But he must never forget that subjectivity and objectivity are incompatible.

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


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