One Artist’s Definition
During the 2018 summer, a fellow artist (painter) from an adjacent booth stopped in my booth for a few minutes during a lull period.
He brought up the question “What is fine art?” and shared a response he had previously heard.
His answer, “You’ll know it when you see it.”
Google “what is fine art photography”. Wikipedia will provide a definition.
“Fine art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as the photographer” (Wikepedia)
Like A Good Song
Fine art photography is like a good song.
It captures your imagination, pulls on your emotions, and takes you to a place in your mind you enjoy.
The Artist’s Vision
I believe fine art photography is the sole response to the artistic vision of the artist photographer.
Alain Briot, in his book “Marketing Fine Art Photography”, dedicated a full chapter to this discussion. His writing on this subject was foundational in helping me develop my own summation on this topic. (Incidentally,
Only the artist can “see” and “capture” the scene to their vision.
The artist, not a lab or another, is the only person that can process and develop the image, once again, to their vision.
And yes, only the artist can finalize their vision by personally producing the final print.
The final print yields an emotional impact on the viewer.
Creating a fine art print is not a singular event.
It is the amalgamation of the entire process, all driven by the artist’s artistic vision, that creates the final fine art photographic print. As such, fine art is not a commodity.
Control The Entire Process
With my fine art photography, I must control the entire process to bring that final fine art print to fruition.
When capturing the landscape image, I shoot only in Camera RAW with all manual settings.
Shooting in RAW mandates that I must development and process each image. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Final Print - From My Printer
Just as I wouldn’t turn over my camera to someone else to capture the image, or the file to someone to develop and process, I avoid turning over the printing to another.
All fine art prints are personally and professionally printed by me. Using 100% cotton rag paper on my Epson 7900 printer, I can deliver the final vision to the print, with its own natural colors.
Side note — There are times when printing by others must occur, such as in the lithograph prints I’ve sold. However, my fine art prints, (which the lithographs are not), are printed personally by me.
Signed, Not Numbered
Each fine art landscape print is personally hand-signed by me, the artist who created the photographic image. You will not see electronic signatures on any of my prints.
Each print is not numbered. I believe limiting editions is now simply a marketing function that is not necessary.
The Emotional Impact
With my short definition, I also believe that the fine art print must allow the viewer to create an emotional attachment.
Different prints will affect each individual differently. Some viewers will enjoy certain works. Others will enjoy a completely different set of prints.
That’s OK. It’s part of creating the emotional response.
The Final Definition
However one defines fine art photography, the artist’s earlier definition is perhaps the most fitting:
“You’ll know it when you see it.”