sticky What is the Fine Art Photography group about?


What is Fine Art Photography?

That's much (and often hotly) debated, and I've even given lectures on the topic, but for the purposes of this group, it is this: photographic prints, designed to be hung on a wall, and enjoyed for their content alone.

Yes, technically that includes pictures of your kids, but then your kids are not "art" to others, so while snap-shooters are certainly welcome here, (if they want to learn and improve beyond that skill-level) this group is generally aimed at artists.

What about conceptual photos? While all photos have a concept behind them, "conceptual photography" requires an explanation of the image in order to be appreciated, and therefore does not qualify as traditional "fine art" wherein the artwork stands by itself.

Weston, Adams, even Gursky, would be at home here, but fine art photos do not have to be just "pretty pictures." However, it is imperative that they hang on the wall as art in their own right, without requiring explanations.

Finally, I'd like to make it clear that this group is about learning and sharing. It is, therefore NOT just for established artists, but for those wherever they may be on the journey that is photography. Unlike commercial photographers, fine art photographers have no secret techniques they need to keep secret. Every fine art photographer I've ever met is delighted to share freely with anyone who is interested. Why? Because fine art is your personal vision, and no one can duplicate it. Hopefully, here you can learn something new (or revised) that will help your own expressions become ever more accurate to your vision.

"Journey" is a perfect word for photography, as it is a path, with waypoints and discoveries we all make. Early in the journey, we all 'discover' composition; then shape, line and form. Later we discover B&W, and swear "it's the only real art" yet that waypoint on the journey softens as time goes on. Those of us who have been doing this for decades have seen the thing beginners are just finding. That does not make us "better" - but like a guide, gives us the perspective to recognize that waypoint, and to understand what comes next.

And for those of us who are old hands - well, we all know that the journey never ends. The major points may be behind us, but each of us continues to discover subtle and interesting new things, and sharing those propels all of us forward.

Ask a fine art photographer what is the most exciting thing about his craft, and most will say the same thing: "the next photograph."

I hope this description helps you decide if this group is right for you.

(If you want to discuss the nature of fine art photography, please start a new topic, apart from this welcome message, as it's likely to be a long and heated discussion!  :-)

Tracy Valleau, moderator


I've been OTA (Off The Air) for the past couple of days, getting the text of my talk to the CPA back in January into PDF form (at the request of quite a few people. I apologize for taking so long... It's nearly done - probably later tonight or tomorrow.)

I'm delighted to see so many new members. Since I get to see the registrations as they come it, I'm also delighted at the quality of the artists showing up here.

Thank you! :-)

Please spread the word, especially to students and other beginners. Everyone is welcome.

I'd also like to point out that this is not "my" group; it belongs to all of us, and is not a soliloquy, but a discussion and free-ranging chat.

Yes: I'm doing a lot of the responding, and frankly I feel a bit guilty about that. I pretty much live at my computer, so I see the questions as they come it. I'm trying to find the balance between the needs of a new group (where people may be a bit shy) and providing timely responses. 

I certainly do NOT want to become "the answer guy" - that is at least partly why we are ALL here. So, I'll keep an eye on things, while trying to leave room for people who get daily updates, to respond first. That's only fair. If things seem to be slowing down, I'll try to pump in a new thread, or further thought, at least until the ball gets rolling.

In short: do not hesitate, folks - jump right in: the water is fine.

Apropos of all that, I just added the "Photoshop Tips" thread, and kicked it off with a tip about removing the dreaded halos from over-sharpening.

Once again: welcome and thank you!

Tracy Valleau, moderator