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Fine Art Photography

Max Wall , May 29, 2003; 03:34 p.m.

The term "fine art photography" is often mentioned as a type of photography enjoyed by some of you, along with travel, scenics, street, landscapes, architectural, portrait, etc. . These latter types I understand, but fine art is not so clear. How would you forum members define it, and what would be examples of this interest? Images would be helpful. Thanks.


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Mike Dixon , May 29, 2003; 03:46 p.m.

I avoid the term "fine art photography" for two reasons: 1) as you noted, it's not very useful as a description, and 2) most of the time the term is used to lend some kind of legitimacy to stuff that's really boring.

[I'm not saying that all "fine art photography" is the same trite nudes/landscapes/still lifes/whatever that I've been sick of for decades, but a fairly strong majority of it is. Just because she's lying on a rock nekkid and it's b&w doesn't automatically make it art!]

Sanford Edelstein , May 29, 2003; 04:15 p.m.

Look at a picture I posted under "Please Critique" about half way down. Some people would call this an "art" photo. It is about color, shape, form, texture, otherwise no meaning or story.

Patrick (Washington, DC) , May 29, 2003; 04:42 p.m.

Fine art in itself, per Webster's Dictionary = "a visual art created primarily for aesthetic (concerned with emotion and sensation as opposed to intellectuality) purposes and valued for its beauty or expressiveness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, or architecture".

Pretty vague and protenious, if you ask me.

There is certainly some inflation in the use of the word, e.g. it is also widely used by different vendors/providers to describe high quality products that they want you to pay a premium for, e.g. "fine art photogrpahy printing paper".

Then there is the academical use, e.g. Bachelor of Fine Arts

Net/net: I would never describe any art as 'fine art'.

Steve Barnett , May 29, 2003; 04:48 p.m.

I have a B.A. Hons in Fine Art (Photography). But don't ask me to answer your question. Rules are meant to be broken, fine art wise, like Ansel Adams did, like Nan Goldin does. As soon as you define it, it moves on.

Lee Shively , May 29, 2003; 04:51 p.m.

What Mike and Patrick said.

It's a meaningless term, like most labels. It requires defining both "art" and the "fine(ness)" of the "art". Hardly possible.

As far as a category, it's the same as "miscellaneous".

Allen Herbert , May 29, 2003; 04:54 p.m.

Rules are meant to be broken

Who makes the rules? Should i follow their thoughts? Why?

Maury Cohen , May 29, 2003; 05:00 p.m.

Yep, I'd vote for that one as classic "fine art".

Al Kaplan - Miami, FL , May 29, 2003; 05:13 p.m.

Whenever you take a lousy photo print it with black borders on double weight paper and selenium tone it so it will be archival. A couple hundred years from now the only prints left will be those processed like that. You'll be famous.

Jake Tauber , May 29, 2003; 05:16 p.m.

It seems so many who post here are distrustful of the word "Art" and generally speaking, I think this is true of the American public. But,I've never been clear why? One thing I'm pretty sure of is the average viewer equates "beauty" and easy-to-understand with something artful. This would likely explain the popularity of Impressionism. It might also explain the proliferation of mostly prosiac flower pictures seen on Photo.net and at local craft/art fairs.

I feel strongly that most true art presents a vision that has a context within the history of art; requires some intellectual processing beyond just the visual; will likely confuse or piss off the average viewer.

For those of you who would like to read an articulate damnation of contemporary art and the people who control it, I would recommend a very short book by Tom Wolfe entittled the, "The Painted Word". He wrote a similar book on architecture called, "From Bauhaus to Our House".

The bottom line is whatever you think is artful, is. Although one must be prepared for disagreement.

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