Photography and Fine Art Photography

What Is the difference between Photography and Fine Art Photography?

From the moment the camera was created there has always been an argument about whether or not photography is actually an art form. This argument is mainly based on the fact that the image itself is capture inside a piece of equipment rather than the equipment applying or carving the artists vision. Other reasons for the argument is because a camera can be used quickly to document things and well, in this day and age everyone owns a camera. So the vast majority of people feel that photography is not an art form and usually disregard it. Today, I would like to define the difference between Photography and Fine Art Photography in hopes that people will better understand the craft.

Photography is a very broad field, it can be used for documentary, scientific, educational, commercial, artistic, and personal purposes.  With the exception of personal use and artistic each purpose has little to no creativity applied to it. In no way shape or form am I saying that there is no skill in these fields. All I am saying is most of the skills required in these field are technical based not creative based. Images are used every day in ads, on packages, on the computer, in books, flyers, magazines and on TV and I believe this could also be playing a part in the reduction of the value of photography as an art form in people’s eyes. These types of photographs are created to be informative and for you the consumer to buy the product or object being displayed.

What is personal use photography?

Personal use photography usually revolves around things in a persons’ life, such as a wedding, special event, portraits, and your candid family pics at the BBQ. These images have sentimental value but little value outside of the home of the people being photographed. However, I believe that professional portrait and wedding photographer are artists because they are creating an image that invokes emotions in the people involved; this is most apparent in Wedding Photography. There are some amazing Wedding Photographers that can creatively depict the beauty, love, a sense of peace or comfort on one of the most important and yes, stressful days of a couples life.

What is Fine art Photography?

Fine Art photography is also known as photographic art or artistic photography. The idea behind the genre, is to capture a rendition of a subject, ranging in topics in a different perspective than it is normally viewed on a day to day basis. Fine Art photographs are usually produced with a more personal approach rather than a commercial approach. This personal approach is what creates the impressions, moods, and atmosphere of the scene. A Fine Art Photographer looks more towards the aesthetic of a subject rather than documenting the overall subject matter. The aesthetic could be anything thing from a physical detail to a concept. Fine Art photography is very subjective, meaning that there will be people who love it and people who hate it. Either way the artist creates the artistic photo because they love to create from their heart, not for public demand. If the piece of work is sold its because the individual loved the piece enough to hang it on their wall to view it every day.


9 thoughts on “Photography and Fine Art Photography

  1. pererikberglund

    I also think that some people are having trouble seeing photography as art because the camera can be used, it is made for, for multiplying prints/images from the negative, while an oil painting, on the other hand, will only have one original. The fewer exemplars the higher value. That is why several print forms use limited editions to raise the value. Tricky but interesting subject this. 😊 Pelle

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I completely agree that photography is a valid art form. I am a “personal photographer” as you define it. I am passionate about photography and try to be as skillful as possible with my photography but my aim is simply to record my family and our experiences, to document our lives. That is very different from art photography in both its aim and approach.

    Back home in Scotland, I was a member of a camera club and the members had varied skill and experience levels and there were definitely some members of that group who – even as amateurs – were producing photographs that were so evocative, skillfully taken, processed and printed, so beautiful or otherwise engaging that they were worthy of being hung in galleries alongside works of art in other media.

    One thing that annoys me – and I wonder if it annoys you – is when people are dismissive about a photograph’s qualities as if it is simply down to the mechanics of the camera. I have had people look at my images even and state that the photograph is good because I have a good camera. Yes, camera equipment and post-production software can enable a photographer to capture the image they envisioned but that can only get you so far. Knowing how to operate your camera obviously helps you get the best out of it but the mechanical can only get you so far. A good photographer has to have a great, artistic eye, has to be capable of comprehending how to handle all of the elements, and possess an understanding of what it is about the thing they are viewing that will engage an audience. Even with the best equipment available, anyone without those skills would take mediocre photos.

    1. PIPA Fine Art

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for the feedback and your story! I think having the variety of skill and creative levels in a camera club are important; it allows members at all levels to learn. As for the camera getting the credit for a great photo, I always get that lol. I think most people relate bad photographs to low quality equipment because of their own experiences with cameras/cell photon cameras.

  3. photobyjohnbo

    Anyone who says photography is a lesser art form has never seen Arizona Highways magazine or viewed the works of Ansel Adams, just to name a couple of examples. Jus’ sayin’. 🙂

Comments are closed.