I do not profess a personal style with the subject matter of my photography. Nor do I profess a personal style with how I render a photograph. But, I do like to experiment.
I was a portrait photographer before I retired from studio photography several years ago. During that time, I would dabble in what I understood to be “Fine Art Photography”. But I was known as a portrait photographer and people wanted smiley faces with eyes looking at the camera. They did not want their portraits to look like fine art. They did not want to see or feel the emotion.
Until someone else came along, branding their work as “Fine Art Portraiture”.
I understand “Fine Art” to be something created by and for an artist. To which, an artist has the license to do whatever they want with their art. Some may like an artists work, others may not. Sometimes, obscure artists may not be recognized till after their departure from life.
There was a Milwaukee freelance artist who aspired not only as a poet but also a sculptor; an innovator, arrow maker and plant man; bone artifacts constructor, photographer, architect and philosopher. That is quite an oeuvre. He was generally known as the chicken bone artist.
His work was presented at the New York American Folk Art Museum in 2010. But he died in 1983. He could not enjoy the experience of his popularity. But I am sure he was happy with his accomplishments during his life. I’d also like to think that those varied interests complimented each other.
While Eugene Von Bruenchenhein lived in obscurity, others who appreciate who he was and what he accomplished now enjoy his work.
With this “Fine Art’ license, artists enjoy their freedom of expression. Some choose to fine tune their work and hone it to perfection. I see this at art fairs where I particularly enjoy etchings and pencil work. My favorite work at art museums are the Impressionists. In photography we see selective works in nature photography, floral compositions and figure photography to name a few.
While these all have an affect on my work, I do not have the talent to work with brushes or pens, or to translate my vision to a canvas. What I can do however is to capture a scene, an object, a person, activity or whatever presents itself; then compose an image in camera based on structure and color. These images then go to Lightroom® - there to address color temperature, exposure and contrast – along with a few other things. Lightroom® also enables me to create versions of an image with a plethora of presets which provide different types of interest. The image is saved in an appropriate format and then goes on to Photoshop®, my canvas for creativity.
I also dabble with Corel Painter Essentials® to convert an image to what appears to be a painting or a pencil sketch. Smartphone photography along with their apps provides yet another avenue of creativity.
Understandings about photography.
Photographers did not invent composition or color harmony – men of vision – certainly artists and architects accomplished these long ago. These are the subjects learned from art history - the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts. Among other things, art student’s study critical thinking, creative problem solving and innovation, education and lifelong learning.
However, I was not an art student; I studied photography at a local technical college in the film days. Knowing and practicing wet darkroom work gave me the basics to use in Photoshop® today. Continuing education with professional organizations, workshops and online courses provided the resources necessary to accomplish the work I do today.