An Eye for Art PhotographyArt photography usually refers to high-quality archival prints of photographs that are reproduced in limited numbers, and sold to dealers, collectors or curators. Occasionally the prints may be exhibited in an art gallery, but not always. These photographs are usually created to fulfill the creative vision of the photographer. They are an art form, photographed and printed for their own aesthetic value. They may be in color, or black and white.
Good art photography is not so much about technique as it is about self- expression. It is the process of seeing the image that you want, than recording or photographing it to share. Your eye-what you see as well as what you can envision, is more important than fancy cameras and equipment. Many art photographers even prefer using older cameras or even pinhole cameras to achieve the image they see in their mind’s-eye.
The current trend in art photography seems to be staged photographs. This involves careful positioning of the subject or object and pre-set lighting. There are several well-known photographers who shoot art photography in this manner, including Gregory Crewdson and Cindy Sherman.
Famous Art PhotographersAnsel Adams is perhaps one of the most famous art photographers. Born in 1902, in San Francisco, he was an only child. In 1916 the family took a trip to Yosemite and this provided the inspiration for later photographs, though he did not begin photographing until 1927.
Ansel Adams also pioneered the idea of visualization of the finished print. He based this visualization on the metered light values in the scene being photographed. Adams specialized in black and white art photography. He died in 1984 but his work lives on today.
Diane Arbus is another well-known art photographer. She is particularly noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society. She was once quoted as saying “a photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less it knows.” Arbus was born in 1923, and unfortunately ended her own life in 1971. One of her photos (Identical Twins) sold for $478,400 in 2004.
Developing an Eye for Art PhotographyOne-way to learn to produce good art photography is to practice “seeing” an object. For this exercise choose an inanimate object such as a toy, a book, a tree or anything else that does not move. Photograph this object everyday for a month. Each day try to photograph it in a different way, whether it is at a different angle or using a different technique. This exercise will force you to see the object in a different way, as well as to think about and create different views that will improve your art photography.