A definition of fine art photography is very difficult to pin down, and varies widely
depending on who you speak to. But in general it can be said that it refers to a photograph
whose purpose is more than just mere representation, and attempts to go beyond realism.
Successful artistic photography most often conveys something personal that the photographer
wishes to express, while at the same time expressing something universal.
Historically, fine art photography originated with the need for photographs to be taken
as seriously as painting and therefore early art photographers used the medium to create
photos that had a painterly quality to them.
During the Victorian era, photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron in the UK and
Alfred Stieglitz in the US were pioneers in the field of art photography. Since that time,
however, fine art photography has moved out of the shadow of painting, and has its own language
and traditions on which to draw.
Modern fine art photography is often very innovative and may be concerned more with elements
such as form, design or concepts than with recording an event. A fine art photograph may be
a complex, staged event and the final image may be highly manipulated.
Today the camera is so much more than just a recording instrument and is accorded the status
that it has long deserved as a tool for the creation of works of art whose reality is as
powerful, if not more so, than a painting - in the hands of a true artist that is.
As John Steinbeck said, photography "can be the extension of mind and heart..." but it "is as
good as the man who uses it".
Happily, photography is readily availabe to so many people today and with the arrival of
digital cameras it is easy to experiment with your images. The downside is that many
photographers lack individuality. If you want to develop your own voice and style, without
committing yourself to expensive courses, then a great book to guide you is
The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression.
With well over 100 beautiful photographic illustrations
in both black-and-white and color, as well as numerous charts, graphs, and tables, this book
presents the world of photography to beginner, intermediate, and advanced photographers
seeking to make a personal statement through the medium of photography. Without talking
down to anyone, or talking over anyone's head, Barnbaum presents "how to" techniques for
both traditional and digital approaches. Yet he goes well beyond the technical, as he
delves deeply into the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography
so often avoided in other books. An ongoing, invaluable photographic reference for years to
come, this book is truly the resource of choice for the thinking photographer. (Amazon Product Description)
For some artistic photographers, creativity can really blossom after they have taken the shot. If
this is you, then
Beyond Digital Photography: Transforming Photos into Fine Art with Photoshop and Painter
is a terrific resource. Geared for intermediate to advanced users, Beyond Digital Photography
is a beautiful and instructive book that uses time-honoured design principles and basic drawing
and painting skills, and applies them to digital photographs. The easy-to-follow, step-by-step
format allows you to practice a variety of Photoshop and Painter techniques and gives you
the confidence to achieve your own expressive goals with great results. In this inspiring
book, you'll discover how to transform your photos into works of art:
- Shoot and select photos with good composition and lighting for painting
- Emulate the look of pop art, woodcuts, and dry media texture
- Create Old Masters-style oil paintings, watercolors, contemporary paintings, and abstract art
- Add edge treatments and textured borders with brushwork
- Build creative compositions, such as collages
Create traditional styles such as landscape, portrait, and - life paintings
- Use a pressure-sensitive tablet for gestural, expressive painting
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