I loved fine art photography long before I ever delved into it. No matter what the genre, I’ve always considered myself a visual storyteller first and foremost. And fine art photography is all about finding the story and then using concept, color and mood to tell it in a visually beautiful way that’s both commercially valuable and collectible.
While I often use the same – or similar – signature lighting techniques, there’s one big difference between fine art photography and other disciplines. When concepting a commercial photograph, for example, I’m usually thinking about what elements to include.
But with fine art, often the biggest compositional decision is what to leave out. Every detail matters. Every detail is deliberate. And every detail is designed to communicate an awareness that is open to interpretations.
Another important characteristic of fine art photography is theme. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s often the photograph’s reason for being.
And as most people know, themes can’t be complex, elaborate or confusing. They need to be simple takeaways. Which means I have to deliberately strip away any and all elements that don’t support that theme.
FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY requires me to
Without an idea and a theme, it’s not a fine art photograph. My work – once a collector or gallery has it on their walls – will become objects of an interpretive process. So I utilize color palettes, framing and composition to steer the concept toward the story I’m trying to tell.
Simplicity is hard. And it takes a lot of effort to make something look effortless. A fine art photograph is not so much about the scene or the subject, but what I choose to reveal and what I choose to strip away.
Since everything I create comes from an artistic vision, I don’t always differentiate my work as one genre or another. Which, in turn, allows me utilize ideas and lighting techniques I might otherwise use for advertising, cars, portraits or any of the other disciplines.