What is Fine Art Photography

What is fine art photography

Photography nowadays gets the recognition that it deserves. There used to be a time when most people thought that photography could be described in its entirety with the following description: you grab a camera and you shoot some photos. Well, as it turns out, there’s a lot more depth to photography than what this sentence would have you believe, and during the years there have been a lot of new advances in the field of photography, whether it’s in the equipment with which you can shoot photos, or the styles for which you can aim for while taking a photo. Photography is a unique combination of skill and art, and all photos are unique in their own way.

fine art photo

There are many styles of photography, and they are developed on a daily basis by photography enthusiasts – this being due to the explosion of photography in the mainstream. But the one style of photography that we’d like to analyze today is the style of fine art photography. Below you’ll find how this style differs from the rest and how it can photos unique and enchanting to whoever sees them.

The marks of fine art photography

Fine art photography is a style that contrasts with some other styles, such as the journalistic style of photography, or the commercial. The purpose of the journalistic style is to give the viewer of the photo an objective look of the situation so that he may know exactly what’s happening at the site where the photo was taken. Nothing more to it. And the purpose of the commercial style is to advertise a certain product to the people that see the photo (i.e. the potential customers). Nothing more to it.


But fine art photography as another element that set it apart from all the other styles. And this element is the fact that there’s an important subjective element to the photo. This means that the photographer took the photo with the special intention for it to conform to certain aesthetic views that he has, and so that it can artistically express a certain message, or an attitude that he has.

As you can see, the definition of fine art photography isn’t something that’s defined with a strong definition. This means that there’s a flood of photographers that like to consider them “fine art” experts, even though their work is nothing of the kind. But there’s a believe that if you make a photo somewhat “artistic” in the classical sense, perhaps by playing with the lines of the photo, then you will add that elusive “fine art” element that many photographers seek. This is of course wrong, as there is more to fine art photography than what these people believe to be the case.

You have to know that pictures are a lot more powerful than words, and as the saying goes – a picture is worth a thousand words. Some of the concepts that stand behind the “fine art” term are quite simple impossible to explain with words alone. Luckily, you have the internet nowadays, and with it comes the largest collection of photos deemed to be shot in the fine art style of photography. We recommend you to check some of these photos in order to have a firmer grasp on what this style of photography is all about.

In fact, as to the history of the fine art style of photography, it can be traced back to the year 1851 (as some historians claim) and the work of John Edwin Mayall. The work of this person exhibited daguerrotypes which in turn illustrated the Lord’s Prayer. This is considered to be the earliest exhibit of fine art photography. In newer times, fine art photography was promoted by the photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and F. Holland day. They are the pioneers of turning photography into a fine art.  Among these people, Alfred Stieglitz was the one who made fine art photography go into the mainstream’s eye by introducing fine art photos in museum collections.

So, the core idea behind fine art photography is that the photographer aims to create a more personal impression, and not to capture a realistic rendition on the subject that he wishes to portray in a photo. The purpose of the photo would be to be a bit more atmospheric, or evocative.

All in all, you should now have somewhat of a firm grasp on the issue of fine art photography. But remember, this is not a firm style of photography, meaning its definition is a bit ephemeral. But even thought this is the case, if you practice at this style long and hard enough, and if you’re dedicated and passionate about the subject, then after a while you too can create unique, breathtaking master pieces that will enchant people that see them, in the style of fine art photography.