I am often asked how did you take those black and white photographs? During the last several months I have been approached about giving lessons regarding fine art photography with no specific genre in mind. Living in Florida there is endless opportunities for developing ones fine art photography skills capturing seascapes, landscapes, old Spanish architecture as well as modern contemporary architecture, botanical still life, and nature for the photographer just starting out with curiosity and enthusiasm. This is an introduction to FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY for the beginning photographer or enthusiasts.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Richard Terpolilli – richterpolilli.com All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form without prior written permission by the author, except in the case of brief quotations in reviews.


Are you a beginning photographer looking to find your niche in fine art photography? This is Part 1 giving you my interpretation for capturing fine art photographs. Here I try to take away the mystery for defining and understanding Fine Art Photography.

Solitude ~ Blue Cypress Lake Florida capturing the new day from a pontoon boat.

Seeing the Invisible

The twentieth century French novelist Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” This is what fine art photography gives you, new eyes! Your vision is invisible to others and no one can express what you are seeing and feeling better then you, being different and original with a personal signature. Fine Art Photography allows you to create the invisible using your visual style to express your vision in any genre such as architecture, abstracts, landscapes or still life with new eyes. There are many artists in fine art photography who inspire us such as Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna, Hengki Koentjoro, and Julia Anna Gospodarou and they like yourself found their way to fine art photography through their own creativity and other artists who inspired them.

Guggenheim Museum – New York City an abstract long exposure.

Why Fine Art Photography?

Why not? You must have asked yourself that very question. For me the fine art photography has that “IT” or “WOW” factor. Having been to Yosemite National Park several times I was always amazed by the works of Ansel Adams, this was my baptism into fine art photography. So, when I got my first digital camera then self taught myself in post processing using Aperture 3 and Nik Plugins, I thought I was on my way, Wrong! I had no idea what fine art photography was about. To me it was a description attached to black and white long exposure images.
The great master artists of the past and all the various art movements over time have commonality i.e., they start with a vision or an expression of self, placed upon a canvas with their brush strokes. You as a photographer on the other hand are starting with a existing configured image with defined or undefined lines taken by your camera. Without getting into technical camera techniques you have two options: 1.) point and shoot and duplicate what you are seeing or 2.) transpose the image you have just photographed into a creation expressing your emotional self through your brush strokes in the digital darkroom onto a monitor or a print to be framed.

Sands of time blowing in the wind  Amelia Island ~ Florida

The peacefulness over Point Reyes – California

Originality ~ Communication ~ Emotional Response

Julia Anna Gospodarou offers the following on originality, “If your goal is to be a fine Art photographer then you must create your own vision and find your visual style providing emotion and intensity for the viewer.” In the beginning you will want to copy or duplicate other leading artists in the fine art photography movement. Julia suggests to avoid this pitfall do not create what is trendy. I recall Cole Thompson telling his story of one of his early competitions where the judge said your copying Ansel Adams to which Cole agreed. The judge responded, “Ansel Adams already did Ansel Adams and no one can do him better.”  Cole took that advice to heart and developed his own vision and style which elevated him to one of the leading fine art photographers.
On communication Julia maintains that great artists made art a personnel issue and focused on how they express their uniqueness through their creations. Further Julia suggests that if you manage to communicate your own emotion(s) to the audience, then you’ve managed to create an original art form. This is a difficult voyage following your own path to creativity consisting of trial and error, listening to your instincts and asking does your created image speak to you?
Joel Tjintjelaar reveals that, “The purpose of art, first and foremost is an aesthetic one and its purpose is to express emotions to communicate with the viewer. Ask what do I feel when viewing a fine art photograph, what are my emotions feeling: mood, anger or delight, peace or turmoil, motion or stillness, mystery or fear and the emotional list goes on. Jackson Pollock states, “It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something is said.”

Using an off camera flash with soft box capturing simple texture in black and white.