Fine-art photography is an allegory like a poem or a story but with visuals and drama instead of words. Every fine-art photographer’s work is like a metaphorical tunnel involving deep yet perceptible emotions. These emotions are left unsaid for us to figure it out and derive our own versions of stories and meanings out, by just observing it. It is a subject of photography that builds the line along with the vision of the photographer. The main purpose of fine-art photography is the expression of art through depicted emotions, an ideology, or a message that the photographer is willing to present by any abstract subject of the artist’s imagery. Fine-art photography is different from photojournalism and commercial photography which is the representation of facts and promoting products and brands, respectively.
Starting out as the genre in the 1940s, Fine-art Photography has been rooted deep enough to create a chain of concepts and topics and art movements and ideas to influence more and more photographers of the new generation. As the base was set-up by influential photographers in the old times, the legacy has been carried to this date as it is one of the most pursued genres of photography in today’s time.
History and Origin of Fine-Art Photography
Fine-art was introduced as a genre in the field of photography in the 1940s. Alfred Steiglitz was a notable photographer to bring fine-art into the museums. In the olden days, photographers preferred working in the natural light. Until the ‘digital movement’ started, the filters, manipulation and the resolution change affected the industry. It is one of the most complex genres of photography as it requires a certain amount of attention. But if one masters the art, he/she can create wonders out of the knowledge received.
Fine-Art Photography doesn’t hold any concept or a particular sub-category. It is simply an expression or a part of abstract art. Politics, Literature, Art, Fashion, Lifestyle everything was depicted in a worldview of the Photographer’s imagination. 20th-century photographer, Ansel Adams, introduced the importance of fine-art photography to the world that created quite stir among the people and the viewers. Ansel Adams is one of the most renowned fine-art photographers of the old days. His primary focus was the photography serving the purpose to just create art but his awareness to protect the Sierra Nevada was a major step and it gained immense support from people then.
Finally, fine-art photography was not about realism only. The idea of creating a drama also flourished in the early 1950s. Photographers like Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson were known for staging their photographs. That is how the digital movement and/or age started where using different filters and artificial natural lights to create a mood, became a trend. The idea of natural photos was declining which was questioned by many photographers who disapproved of ‘artificial’ and ‘fake’ ideas and emotions that were depicted.
Contemporary Scenario of Fine-Art Photography
Starting from the 1950s, contemporary art took place in the field of arts. Fine-art started to overlap with fashion photography and photojournalism, especially fashion photography. The overlapping of themes started in the 1960s, as studied in the exhibitions and college lectures. That’s what we call the ‘blurred lines’ between the themes and genres. Mobile Apps like Snapchat were used for certain filters and concepts for fine-art photography.
Sticking to the orthodox opinions might teach someone the mastery of fine-art photography as it had great depth in the subjects of the picture. For reference, look at the works of the photographer, Alfred Steiglitz. Even now, there are photographers who like the old ways of clicking such pictures because it requires and produces unusually abstract backgrounds and framing. Even though it takes a great amount of time and patience to reach a level like that, it’s definitely worth it. It is also important to know about all the art and literary movements as it is the main source of inspiration for many artists. Abstract, Minimalism, Renaissance, or Impressionism, are a good starter pack for those photographers who are starting out and producing some good work.
Fine-Art and Nude Photography Photography in India
Depiction of nudity or Nude Photography has been one of the most preferred and dominating themes of fine-art photography. Abir Roy’s most preferred themes are Nude Photography and bodyscape. Even though it remains one of the controversial subjects in photography and art, it strengthens and defines the concept of dashes of realism. It is important to understand the bottom line or the depth of this genre. In India, photographers like Neeraj Agnihotri, Taras Taraporvala, Gaurav Hingne are a few names who have devoted themselves to the genre and are receiving good recognition for their work. The works of these photographers can be taken as a good inspiration for the amateur photographer who is still exploring the realms of photography.
Another such photographer is Diwan Manna, one of the well-recognized contemporary Indian artists. His pictures are totally out of the world context. Coming from a painting and theatre background, Manna’s work is what best defines fine-art photography because it can make one reason the artist’s mind and broaden the culturally artistic horizons. He tries to depict his artistic background in his pictures through the colors, the drama, the story, the expression, the paintings, and the body art. The colors which are unusual, the reality of the movement of the captured subjects and figures is his forte. His works have been exhibited in various prestigious art galleries in Europe and India.
Understanding Fine-Art Photography
Principles of Fine-art Photography are the same as the design and art elements and principles. The elements comprise of the dots, lines, colors, shapes, patterns, and textures whereas the principles include symmetrical and asymmetrical balance, emphasis, the direction of the subject and the light, repetitive patterns play an important part in the creation of any art or design. After these concepts are cleared, it becomes easy to brainstorm and create a moodboard. The blending of principles and elements can give a great combination and a descriptive image. Practise and patience is the key to master fine-art photography. At first, it might not produce the expected results. Taking reference from the published and recognized photographers is a good way to start creating a moodboard.
Moodboards can define your idea once when you combine and create a gist of your upcoming collection of art and photography. For example, what does one want to shoot? Landscape, pets, people, architecture? What kind of color palette do you want? Or do you want monochromatic pictures? What would be the silhouette? Whether it will be an indoor or outdoor shoot? All of these steps will change the perspective and every vision will be printed into the canvas that has been captured from the real-life elements. If someone plans to learn fine-art photography by themselves, here are a few pointers that are supposed to be focussed on when creating the moodboard and deciding on the theme and the story of the picture.
- Using too much abstraction might be confusing, even though it might sound easy in the beginning.
- Going into technicalities, from the beginning, will make the process more tangled. It’s better to start simple and understand the technical specifications of the genre and the camera gradually.
- Taking references from the complex pictures might expand the self-expectations. It is important to understand the differences in the quality of the picture clicked by a heavily experienced photographer and you.
- Building up the metaphorical connections for the pictures is important as it will be defining the state of mind of the photographer and the people looking at the picture.
- Never reveal your art concept directly. Let the public figure out their own meanings out of your own picture. Thus, opening a gate of possibilities and multiple imaginations.
In order to create a signature style or an artistic statement, these steps are a good way to start building up the ideas. Hence, it is important to give the required amount of time to understand the concept completely. The public should be able to feel multiple different emotions and understand the messages through your pictures. Start off fine-art photography as a means to produce art, give some until it becomes more than a piece of art. That is what is the mind-set of every photographer as a beginner, until the artwork serves the purpose of the world surrounding you, like in the case of Ansel Adams.
Collaboration with Fine-Art Photographer
Recently, Chiiz had collaborated with the ace photographer Abir Roy whose main interest lies in fine-art photography, figure study, and nude photography. This is the second in the series of Fine-art and Figure Study workshops by Abir Roy. His journey of becoming a photographer is quite an interesting one. He is a self-taught photographer and artist and firmly believes in the idea of practice. The images clicked by Roy define the accentuated lines and silhouettes of the human figure with crisp and clear-cut backgrounds, giving a minimalistic touch and feel in the produced outcomes. Roy’s passion for photography is reflected in his images, and one could tell that by looking at
- He has mentored the 4th edition of Muses, the fine-art photography workshop in Delhi.
About the Past Workshops
Fine-art photography workshops are named Muses. The first three editions were mentored and photographed by Jeet Mukherjee, which took place in New Delhi, Ludhiana and Bangaluru. The fourth edition of the workshop took place on 5th January 2020 in Delhi, with Abir Roy as the mentor and photographer. The workshop mentored by Mukherjee took place in cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.
Jeet Mukherjee pursued Masters in Business Administration and Information Technology Management. But he had some other plans in his mind. He wanted to become a photographer and an artist from an early age. He never believed that photography can only be fulfilled with high-end gadgets. He still uses a Medium Format NIKON D7000 Camera for clicking the photographs. Mukherjee firmly believes that “It is the eye that makes the images and not the camera.”
Fine-Art Photography Workshop in Delhi
The fourth edition of the workshop took place on 5th January 2020 in Delhi, with Abir Roy as the mentor and photographer. The workshop was sponsored by the software partners Wacom and Stellar, the lighting partner Elinchrom, taking place in Future Forward Studios. The accompanying make-up artist was Gunjan Jaiswal. The total number of participants was 20, accompanied by 10-15 volunteers working around the set. The second round of the workshop for Fine-art Photography taking place on 15th March, in Bangalore. You can also refer to the mentioned link, https://events.chiiz.com/muses-by-abir-roy/ for more details regarding the past workshop.
The event covers the technicalities and management topics such as lighting and sets, guiding through careers in fashion, posing and expression, learning to create moodboards, product and pricing strategies, production design, the psychology of sensual photography, branding and advertising and the post-production workflow. The workshop will conclude with the knowledge and experience that would mainly be comprised of how build-up the vision or how to become a visionary and adapt to the change coming from the industry, understanding the monochromatic images, and pre-visualization of the images.
Fine-Art Photography in Bengaluru
Muses en Bengaluru, the fifth edition of Fine-art Photography workshop is back, taking place on 15th March 2020 with Abir Roy as the photographer and mentor for the second time. The fine-art photography workshop happening in Bengaluru will be covering similar photography themes, Nude Photography and bodyscape as same as the Delhi Workshop. That is, lighting and sets, guiding through careers in fashion, posing and expression, learning to create moodboards, product and pricing strategies, production design, the psychology of sensual photography, branding and advertising and the post-production workflow. And also how to work on Tripods which will be optional.
For more details on the registration and participation, please visit here