It would seem that art photography should be one of the easiest forms to accomplish since the subject usually doesn’t move, but unless the photographer uses appropriate lighting the full beauty of the object could be lost in the shadows. For many, art photography has a variety of meanings and for most it is the vision that is visible to the photographer as they attempt to present their view to others.
Whether the image is of a person, place or thing, the photograph is considered art by the photographer and many times everyday objects are pictured under certain lighting conditions in order to highlight the shadows, or obscure them, in the final rendition. With today’s use of digital technology, photographers do not have to wait until natural lighting is at just the right stage to illuminate their subjects, as was the case a few years ago with landscapes staged as art.
Digital enhancements on the computer as opposed to enhancements in the darkroom have opened the windows much wider for art photography to become more easily manipulated than in the past. However, for others taking pictures of art works requires better lighting techniques, regardless of the type of photography used. In some instances of art photography filling in the shadows with well-placed lighting improves the quality while adjusting shadows by the use of lighting can offer a different perspective to the same piece.
The ability of the photographer to visualize the outcome before the picture is taken is the sign of a true artist, even with today’s digital opportunities. Previously, several exposures may have to have been taken in order to replicate the mood of the picture taken through art photography. Today’s digital photography allows the photographer to see the work almost immediately and either accept the outcome or retake the image.
As a medium, photography has gained much more acceptance as an art form than it had in the past. Even as recently as 50 or 60 years ago photography was not considered an art form as most believed a mechanical reproduction was not true art. More recently it has been accepted that the eye of the photographer and the images they could see and capture were as much a form of art as a painter with a brush. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism, which provides a visual account for news events, and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products or services.