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Why: The Focus of Artistic Photography is not the Subject or Scene - 1

When I create an artistic photograph of nature, I remind myself that what is important is not the scene in front of me, rather, it is the emotional effect produced by those who experience it. The scene in front of me lasts but a moment, whereas the effects produced can continue to impact a viewer for quite some time. Above all things, an artistic photograph is influenced by the mindset of the artistic photographer.

The subject of this artistic photograph of a young gelada is not essential. The consequences of the interpretation of this photo is the ultimate goal of this creation.
The subject of this artistic photograph of a young gelada is not essential. The consequences of the interpretation of this photo is the ultimate goal of this creation.

Translating Emotions and Conveying Messages

When I create an artistic photograph of a terrestrial or aquatic landscape or animal, I focus on its representation. I do not focus on things as they are, but on what they emotionally represent.

For example, when I look at a tree, I do not see a plant, but the witness of time passing. For me, a symbolic waterfall physically shows time flowing in one moment. Geological formations and their photographed reflections on water represent forgotten paradises and hidden worlds.

For me, most of my artistic photographs are symbolic.

I always photograph to express myself and to transmit my emotions to those who encounter my works. Artistic photography is a great medium of expression, which I discussed in this article.

I believe that before I undertake a series of photos, it is important to imagine the polished results. If I arrive on a scene without preconceptions, I will not be able to create interesting photographs.

The Precise Destination or Animal Species is Irrelevant

When I travel far from home to create artistic photographs for my collections, I do not choose places or species because they are distant or exotic.

I make these choices because they correspond to what I seek to show. They accurately portray my emotions or how I feel.

For example, lately I have been photographing gelada in the mountains of northern Ethiopia. This animal species best characterizes how I wish to portray anthropomorphism. I did not choose this trip just for the sake of flying and meeting the Ethiopians (although I do love travelling and creating new relationships), however, this specific trip’s purpose was to capture images that best fit my vision.

Using Photographed Subjects as Sources of Inspiration

Since my transition from descriptive and illustrative photography to the creation of art prints, I have understood one essential fact: The subjects or scenes I am photographing are not the goals of my photographs. They are my source of inspiration. Even if I place direct focus on them in the scene by carefully choosing framing and compositions, and balancing the masses, my goal is to use them to share messages and emotions.

To reach this conclusion, it took time. I spent years in periods of reflection and introspection. I had to understand and analyze who I was exactly. I worked a lot on the definition of my emotions and the messages that I wanted to transmit through my photographs.

This was difficult because it required deep searching for my own buried emotions from specific experiences. It was a true psychological analysis which I conducted myself with the few tools I had at my disposal. This introspective research allowed me to define my artistic vision. Today, I still respect this definition of my vision. It belongs only to me.

Once this vision was coupled with my photographic style, I defined my artistic and photographic identity. I concede that it is a difficult and time-consuming step, which is essential to creating interesting photographic works.

Indeed, these works are personal and subjective, which I described in this article. They attract an authentic audience that is faithful to me because my style is recognized in my artistic photographs.

Today, when I choose a scene or an animal species to photograph, I always have a specific goal in mind that is related to my vision. I use my style to highlight it and translate my messages.

Nature is my true source of inspiration, rather than the subject of my photographs.

Having the Right Mindset for Subject Inspiration to Spark

To create an interesting and expressive artistic photography, I believe that I must be in a specific state of mind that is conducive to understanding the present scene.

It is essential to develop a connection with places through experiences so that the memories are not based on sight alone. The setting must be physically experienced and understood through all the senses. A photographic scene must be comprehended beyond what it looks like. The artist must experience it.

When this connection is established, a magic moment occurs. Emotions haunt me. I can write about these experiences as the memories flood back. I must truly “write what I feel” with each photograph.

When it is mastered, this photographic technique becomes an excellent service to incorporate. I use everything I have learned to sublimate what I see into messages or emotions.

This state of mind is not limited to when I are active on the field. It can be well prepared before the exact moment of photographic creation.

For example, when I photograph birds in the Dombes, I question my motives for choosing this region to photographically capture such animals. I impart meaning to the colors surrounding the subject. I think of the hours spent in using floating blinds on the trip. For each idea, I write key words and short sentences to describe my emotions. Then, I organize these ideas to construct a scenario that will guide me throughout the creative discovery process of my project. Once I have embarked on my journey, I keep this scenario in mind. I allow my imagination to wander the designated location while distinctly remembering certain moments with great care and attention to detail.

The intellectual approach that I have just mentioned requires a solid knowledge of the locations that will be used in the photographic process. I believe that I only photograph that which I know well.

When I first visit an unknown place, I research books, magazines, and internet articles. With the informational elements I discover through my research, I create an ideal scenario for my first experience. However, I know that creative results improve with time spent returning to the same location. It is true that the best things in life improve with age, and this often applies with art.

The Grass is not Always Greener in the Neighbor

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