Examples of "fine art" photographs

rmprmp Posts: 586Member
edited August 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras

A while back we had a thread on what is a "fine art" photograph. There were many responses and many+1 definitions of what a fine art photograph is or was. At the end of that thread I came away with the following definition.

"A fine art photograph is a photograph that invokes an emotion in the viewer and shows mastery of every step in the creative process" - See more at: http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/170/what-is-a-fine-art-photograph/p1#sthash.SOPlKqVl.dpuf

Now, I have a new request. Please post or send a link to an example of a photograph that - in your opinion - rises to the level of being a fine art photograph.
Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.


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  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    I could not resist… this invoked an emotion when I saw this at a friend's house…. something like Holy S…

    Dick & Cheryl's_08.01.14-4
    Msmoto, mod
  • rmprmp Posts: 586Member
    Thanks everyone. I can see the "artistic intent" or emotional message in each of those photos: The mystery of the foggy forest, Monet's bridge creeping into a garden, the zen-like appeal of water in the desert. The artistic statue near back of the pool just begs for more attention.

    Keep them coming!
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    Medieval monks argued how many angels could dance on the head of a needle, about as fruitful defining art photographs.

    Better to look at your histogram to ensure that you have a good exposure, make sure that you don't confuse your audience with images, that for the lack of language, don't make sense, and in the end, just take a lot of pictures - that is to say, practice a lot.

    Work only on the science of the art. Good colormetery, contrast, composition, light control, shutter mastery, aperture, depth of field control, focal understanding, and much more. That's the only damn thing you can work on and improve upon.

    Trying to come up with a neat bundle of word salad that includes 'emotion' and other crap that has stuff in that is in some how akin to the human spirit is pure BS.

    My best,

  • rmprmp Posts: 586Member
    I have a really good friend. He is a theoretical chemist and the smartest person that I have ever met. He is also a classical pianist. His last piano teacher told him his music was >"technically perfect and emotionally dead." Some how that language soup seems to fit pictures as well as music. I think technical excellence is just the beginning of a great photograph.

    By the way, I believe composition bridges the gap between technical excellence and emotional communication. But, that is just one fools opinion.

    Best regards, Bob
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @ rmp, Don't take the wrath of my post personally - I've been a teacher of photography as 'art' for years - since the flower power decade. ;-)

    I've known several greats, near greats and those who thought they were great. The greats had one thing in common. They didn't dwell on emotion, evocative talk about their work, or such, but instead worked in the camera, the negative, and the darkroom.

    They produced results, concerning themselves with process instead of emotions.

    Chief among them was Ansel Adams. His books are all process. You'd look at his work and likely think all 'emotion'. I talked with him and never did he mention 'emotion'. It was always process.

    Process is always important, far more important that any emotion. You are a creator using a tool that is a scientific instrument - akin to a surgeon - would you like a emotional teenager doing your heart transplant? It makes no sense.

    Technical art first requires competent mastery of the tools of the art.

    Compassion, wisdom and seeing the human condition are an aside of the art itself.

    My best,

  • framerframer Posts: 491Member
    A good moody nude with no face showing. :O)

    Sorry, bad joke...

  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 522Member
    I know great photos that trigger emotions but are not "fine art"


    And I know photos that are fine art, but do not necessarily trigger emotions. Overall I think it is always in the eye of each individual. Here is one of my favs:

    TWIRL #2
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    I think the discussions are good to have because in of themselves they promote and provoke thoughts and ideas. The argument is neverending, the process of the discussion and the disagreements that ensue will allow us all to grow.

    I don't do landscapes but this guy I think really does some special work and I consider it "fine art"

  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @ Benji2505 Eddie Adams was a contemporary of mine in Vietnam. I was working in the US Army as a photographer and briefly met him and Larry Burrows - who I was (and remain) in awe of and was sadden by his death many years ago. Neither would have remembered me.

    Reporting by it's nature - telling a story that is important and relevant - will shake us up. It will stir our blood, change how we feel about an issue. That's what news is or should be. Shooting a handcuffed prisoner in the head help to change the outlook of the perception of the War in Vietnam. It was a seminal photograph of the war. (Even if the facts behind the photo are somewhat blurry.)

    The greater point - the one that I don't want to get lost in the din of emotional intent - is that anyone that hunts for emotion is destined to find failure.

    You can only hone your skill. At the end of the day, that's all you have, nothing more.

    My best,

  • BabaGanoushBabaGanoush Posts: 252Member
    Steve McCurry's iconic Afghan Girl photo for Nat'l Geo. It's the eyes. She's emotionless, the viewer is anything but.
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    Thomas D. Mangelsen - That is photography as art.
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Great discussion… all of our "esteemed" opinions…. but, I will quote one of my greatest teachers, Gerhard Bakker, from the 1960's when i attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee.

    "They tried so hard to be different they forgot to be good"

    Mike has summarized the process well with his comment on angels dancing on the head of a pin. However, what I suggest may be the real meaning behind all the discussion on "Fine Art Photography" is to create human interactions which, if our attitude is correct, may allow us to have an enjoyable discussion but also to potentially learn something in the process. At least that is what my intentions are.
    Msmoto, mod
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2014
    I like the analogy @RMP gave about the - dead - music.

    A mood ?

    Reisgroep Katwijk-6130.jpg
    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • rmprmp Posts: 586Member
    Thanks all. The discussion is thought provoking.

    But the examples -- they make it real. Ton's "mood," Benji2505's stair case, and JonMcGuffin's landscape are examples that rise to the level of "fine art" in this fools opinion.

    My daughter and niece beat me into the definition of a fine art photograph that I am now using. I started with a definition that included "shows mastery of every step in the creative process" - Then the two of them pointed out some of my photos that were technically perfect and boring as dirt. So I was forced to expand the definition with something about emotion or message.

    Please keep the examples coming! I would like to build a list of examples so links or references are really appreciated.
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2014
    Pretty much any photo you are enamored with for non-personal reasons (e.g. your family or love) you're going to consider art.
    That's the case for me too as first impulse on a photo.

    Then I have another thing. I print some photo's I like A4 format, frame them and put them next to me on the wall. Then strange things happens and are different every time. Some photo's does not last a day and some become better and better, for me of course.

    The things I like most in your photo's, you bring a mood in them.

    Has - mood - a rôle in this - fine-art - thing?
    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • rmprmp Posts: 586Member
    Mood has a place in the "emotion" or "message" part of the good photograph!
    In some cases, mood is the primary message.
    This is the worst photo from a trip to Costa Rica. It is also the one I like best because it captures the mood of the entire trip.
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • rmprmp Posts: 586Member
    Proudgeek -- I know that all talk about "art" and especially "fine art" is just one fools opinion, but in this fools opinion all five of those shots fall into the "fine art photograph" category. Great examples!
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    edited August 2014
    Here is my attempt not sure if it is considered fine art but it makes me feel like im falling in or up

    Post edited by Vipmediastar_JZ on
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited August 2014
    Fine art...maybe?
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
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  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 522Member
    Imho the word "art" implies that the picture is visually pleasing or somehow interesting/involving for a majority of the viewers. I also wanted clarify that the pics I listed here are not my own pics but pics from my favorite list on flickr shot by other photogs.

    Sul filo del rasoio
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    Be careful when doing that @Benji2505

    From the forum rules.
    4. Copyrighted material: you can post pictures on the NikonRumors Forum only if you are the legal copyright owner of the work. Same is valid for any other type of copyrighted material. Illegal/pirated software requests, discussions, links, serial numbers are not allowed. These posts will be removed immediately. Exceptions will be made by using the "fair use" clause which allows publication of certain copyrighted materials for forum discussion (for example photo competition winner picture). Make sure you give full credit to the copyright owner. - See more at: http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/298/forum-rules#Item_1
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
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