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Someone asked me the other day what was the different between photography and photographic art.  I couldn’t answer it at the time, I needed time to think, then I thought why don’t I do a post on it.  In my mind photography is more about recording what is around you, using angles and in photoshop just doing the basic to make it look good.  Photographic art is more about doing a lot more to it and it is about expressing yourself.   It is about ideas, finding ways of expressing those ideas.

So I asked Google what is art? and this is what it said

Art  Noun

  1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture,…: “the art of the Renaissance”
  2. 2. Works produced by such skill and imagination.

Then I asked about Photographic Art, and it come up with fine art photgraphy.

Fine art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as photographer. Fine art photography stands in contrast to representational photography, such as photojournalism, which provides a documentary visual account of specific subjects and events, literally re-presenting objective reality rather than the subjective intent of the photographer; and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products or services.

I do like this definition and it probably does it explain it better than I can.

One aspect of being an artist that we have to do is have that vision, our work has to lead to something, or all the work has be in a similar vein.  When you enter competitions or put in submissions or proposals to galleries, one of the things they are going to ask you for is your artist statement.  Does your work all fit into that vision, and what does your work fulfill that intention that you have stated in your statement.

When I was at uni we would get told off if our work was all over the place.  We couldn’t do one thing one day and then do something else completely irrelevant the next.  They wanted us to work towards a body of work.  So if your primary work was portraits and then you suddenly started doing landscapes, you would be asked why, what does one have to do with the other.  They wanted a connection to them.

I think what I am trying to say is that photographic art or fine art photography is about your work helping you to express something.  If you are just photos that look good but have no other reason for it, then you are just taking photos.  Is there a theme to your work?  Do you have a style?  What do you want people to think when they look at your work?  Some questions to ask yourself.

I am finding my way though that maze now.  I am developing my new style and I am starting to work on what my artist statement is and what my intention is in the work. Of course the worse part is that I hate writing artist statements, I really need to find someone who is good with words, that can translate my ideas into a really articulated artist statement.  Of course first I have to work out what my work is about exactly.  I sort of know and I am slowly working it out as I go.

I consider the images I do on the weekends, just photography.  When I go our for an excursion and just take some photos, I think of them as just taking photos, nothing special.  When I take my portraits, I am taking them with a purpose and I am trying to express an intention.  They are planned and thought out.  I have a vision when I am taking them.  So to me, they are fine art photographs.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-3hpm5774

This image I consider just a photograph.  It shows what was there and what I saw.  It doesn’t express anything in particular.

Leanne Cole - The Offering, 1st Version

For me this is a photographic art image.  It was photographed with an intention, to convey a mood and to fit in with other work that I have been doing.  It is more than just what was there and what we saw.  She was dressed up, and we were after something in particular.

I hope I have answered that question now.  What do you think is the difference between art photography and photography?

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