In my previous blog Fine Art Photography for Beginners I discussed developing new eyes or seeing skills to communicate what you are seeing or feeling into a work of art that will arouse or stir the viewers thoughts and emotions. I will tell you up front that this is not an easy task. What I will tell you is that you are not alone feeling this way. Additionally, I will present some thoughts and the thoughts of other world class Fine Art Photographers that will make your transition into this arena challenging, thought provoking and fun.
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When expanding your entry into fine art photography, your vision, imagination, and emotions are transferred from the native color image that must first excite you. This process starts before you touch the camera. No matter where I am there is a specific routine I follow: 1.) How is the light and shadows speaking to me? Their personality is everything when forming my vision of a particular scene. It defines my interpretation of me and how I see planet earth. Julia Anna Gospodarou, “Suggests that our vision is invisible to others and no one can express what you are seeing and feeling better then you,” being different and original with your personal signature. 2.) Where? It’s everywhere….driving in your car look around it’s in front of you. If you live by the sea all those amorphous shadows are giving you a reminder “hey look at me for photographing, now or in the future.” If you’re near the mountains what are your emotions feeling, one of majestic presence, awe-inspiring, or is it the feeling of being alone in the presence of nature. 3.) If you live near or in the city light and shadows will be telling you stories every minute of every day. Shadows at street level expressing mystery. Light cascading on the sides of the towering skyscrapers gripping your imagination contrasted with the streets below. 4.) Catalogue in your mind an index of what you were feeling from the above scenarios, then keep a written reminder of all that you witnessed and what it was that aroused your emotions. Consequently only then, do you pick up the camera.
An emotional response created “Quiet Voices” from the WTC Twin Towers left behind
There is one book that is a must have for your photography library: From Basics to Fine Art Black and White Photography – Architecture and Beyond co-authored by Joel Tjintjelaar and Julia Anna Gospodarou. Joel and Julia are two of finest contemporary fine art photographers and need no introduction. Their accomplishments and awards are unprecedented and their willingness to give back and help others succeed attests to who they are as teacher and mentor.
Although the book is a comprehensive guide for black and white fine art photography much of what it provides can also be applied to color fine art photography. Every aspect is throughly discussed starting with defining fine art photography, a guide to vision and personal style, light and shadow, how to see in black and white, the rule of grays, shooting on site, equipment, composition, post processing, and much more.
Basics To Fine Art ~ A must have for your photography library.
The works of Ansel Adams is unparalleled for his time and continues on to this day. He is the pioneer in fine art photography and with his extensive darkroom developing he has set the standards in black and white photography. His creations of Yosemite National Park and the High Sierra over the last eighty years will attest to his greatness. It is noteworthy to point out that when Ansel Adams looked through his camera lens, he saw more than Yosemite’s rocks, trees, and rivers. He saw art leading him to say, “I visualize how a particular sight and feeling will appear on print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense, an ability that comes from a lot of practice.”
(c) Ansel Adams ~ Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake
(c) Ansel Adams ~ The Old Oak Tree
John Maxymuik from the UK with his article “How to Improve your Fine Art Photography” is a superb resource which is succinct, easy to read, and removes the intimidation as one enters the world of fine art photography. John points out that, “Making fine art photographs involves the use of free imagination. Enrich your creativity by going to art galleries and examine art in its various genres and note your personal responses, impressions, and take time to review each creation that makes you feel that way.” Most of all, it’s important to you to create your own images using your unique vision and visual style.
Where does one start? Use the “Google Search Engine” ask for the names of top fine art photographers narrowing your search for the artists that inspire you the most. Additionally, invest some time with social media. For beginning photographers this is another starting point. For me it was Flickr, the original tried and true media for photographers posting circle. Just scroll through and you’ll find many fine art photographers to choose from. Here you will also find “Flickr Groups” which will list various photography genres. Check out their Facebook page and websites, there you will find their current works and additional photographers as well. Other social media outlets include 500px, Camerapixo, ND Magazine, and Landscape Photography Magazine to name a few.
Here is my list of contemporary fine art photographers that have given and continue to inspire me. They have the “it” or “wow” factor that draws me to take pause and excite my emotions i.e., creating a communion where art and photography come together:
Keith Aggett ~ Decent
Hengki Koentjoro ~ Waterscape 12
Joel Tjintjelaar ~ Visual Acoustics lll
Julia Anna Gospodarou ~ Curved Light
John Kosmopoulos from his Color Portfolio
Thibault Roland ~ The Path
Part 1 discussed your trying to expand your base into fine art photography, develop your new eyes or seeing skills, and communicate what you are seeing and feeling into a work of art that will arouse the viewers thoughts and emotions. Further, emphasis was placed on the necessity of developing your own vision and visual style providing emotion and intensity for the viewer.
Part 2 discussed “PERSPECTIVE” where we discussed that the native color image must first excite you and this process starts before you pick up the camera. Secondly it is important that you explore all your “RESOURCES” providing you with a solid library to fall back on in developing your fine art photography skills. Lastly “BE INSPIRED”, choose accomplished fine art photographers that provide you with inspiration and the drive to create something different through your developing vision and visual style.
Next, I’ll be discussing the great masters of art going back to the renaissance and the founding fathers of the developing photographic movement during the formative years of the twentieth century. Have fun and enjoy what you are about to share with yourself and others.