Nowadays almost anyone can take a photo and even retouche it with one easy click. You don’t have to be a professional photographer, you can just use your phone to make creative selfies and beautiful abstract compositions.
The saying goes ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Not everyone has the same ideas about what is attractive. We all see beauty in different things. What stands out to me, might seem unappealing to you, and vice versa.
But if we set aside the discussion of what attracts you or me, we could answer the question ‘When is photography art?’: by the way they are created, as carefully as paintings. Making these images stand out because of their details, compositions and meanings. Most importantly, they are visions that are far more than simple snapshots.
Here are a few examples that might give you a better idea of what this genre of art photography could be all about.
To me it is not an image that just creates a documentary representation of the scene. And it is also not an image that is just technically perfect. Fine art to me is both: an image that shares the vision of the person who took it, but also considers the composition and the light. Like the top image ‘Ebb & Flow’ by Achmed Peroti.
Many conceptual photos, especially surreal ones, are considered to be fine art. Some involve optical illusions or even heavily edited compositions. These take a long time to perfect. But you don’t need Photoshop to create a conceptual image.
Dion C. Howard finds and creates eye-catching compositions without depending on an editing program.
The bridge has been captured by many, but never have I seen it from this angle. Which gives the image a creative uniqueness and captures the power and magnitude of the well known Jules Wijdenbosch bridge.
Fine art photography doesn’t just focus on portraits or surrealism.
Sometimes, a fine art photograph just focuses on a simple object, like this stack of calabashes by Harvey Lisse. The focus on the perfect lighting and the small details, is what makes this image feel so intimate. No matter how unusual or simple the subject is, it will make you feel things. It doesn’t have to inspire you to go out and conquer the world. But it might speak to your heart through its beauty, its colors, or its subject’s pose.
Some fine art photos won’t speak to you through anything at all. Their simple existence will just remind you of a personal experience.
They can create feelings of nostalgia, sadness, joy, or something completely different. For instance, this image by Fabian Vas. It reminds me of the many times I visited Suriname and the plane would fly over this field of ‘broccoli’ and I couldn’t contain the excitement, because that meant I was almost home.
Depending on your life experiences, you’ll probably feel something different when you look at this image. What do you feel when you look at it? What kind of photos have the biggest impact on you?