Oxford School of Photography

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15 Thoughts on Fine Art Photography Composition

By  on Lightstalking

What are the most important aspects of composing a Fine Art Photograph?  The answer to this question certainly varies from photographer to photographer because each of us places more importance on some aspects than on others.  What follows is what I personally consider to be the most important aspects of Composition….

Much of what Alan says I think is fundamentally true and good starting points to think about photography as a medium for art. I do think that art is a much wider subject than can be addressed by consideration of composition, the definition between fine art and photography as a medium for art is a strongly debated. Just search ‘define fine art photography’ to see how difficult it is to nail a definition. Wiki says

Fine art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as photographer. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism, which provides a visual account for news events, and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products or services.

We don’t have to believe or agree with everything in the Wiki world though.

So basically is anything that is not photographed for the purposes of making money art? But that can’t be correct, just look at a site like Flickr to recognise that most people using cameras are not artists they are at best recordists.

These are questions we pose of our students in our Intermediate Photography course, our aim is to stretch their understanding of photography and to encourage them to incorporate these ideas within their own work. To help them to stop just recording what is front of them and to start using their cameras as a means of expressing their ideas.

Here are  of Alan’s suggestions about making images with the intention of creating fine art. As I say I don’t disagree with any of these but I don’t think adhering to a set of rules can create art, fine or otherwise. I think that art is in the intention of the creator, therefore if you intend to make an image that is more than mere representation then you are attempting to create something with art at it’s foundation. Using Alan’s suggestions may certainly help.

Rhine 2 by Andreas Gursky; this is the most expensive photograph ever sold and is considered by some criteria as a pinnacle  of photographic art. What do you think?

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Click Here: 15 Thoughts on Fine Art Photography Composition by Alain Briot (With Photos)

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5 responses to “15 Thoughts on Fine Art Photography Composition

  1. Jane Buekett March 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    This is interesting. I would say that ‘art’ in any form is something which gives you a slightly new perspective on life, on the world, on yourself. Journalism can be art, commercial photography can be art, a picture made by my small nephew using a pinhole camera made out of a cocoa tin can be art. But it has to have that extra something. Skill does not create art, but it might help you to do so. Alain is wrong about straight prints – art is not about what you do in the computer/darkroom. And pink Photoshopped sky is very definitely not art, it is cliche.

  2. Robert Ash April 5, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I think Alain Briot is a great photographer and his skies are certainly not cliche, I’ve seen skies that look pretty much like his. That said, his principles of composition are classic ones. Not everyone abides by them, and Andreas Gursky made it clear that they can be disregarded yet the photograph still can sell for an extraordinary amount.

    On the other hand it was exciting variations of those classic compositional principles (plus business acumen and good contacts) that enabled Peter Lik to sell the first-ever $1 million photograph before Andreas sold the one above.

    So either approach can work really well, it’s a matter of executing one’s approach, both artistically and in interacting with the right people in a way that appeals to the right people and that gets you visibility in the right circles.

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