This post is the second delivery out of 3 regarding “Black and White and Fine Art Photography”, if you haven’t read my first post you can do it here. I’d recommend reading the first post in order to get a wider context on the topic however it is not a prerequisite to understand this one.
In summary, in the first post I introduced the idea that black and white and fine art photography are two topics intimately related, though not every fine art photographer uses black and white however an increasing number of photographers are coming back to monochrome images in order to present their fine art work. I also introduced the idea that Fine Art Photography is created in accordance with the vision of the artist, so let’s explore here what developing a vision in fine art photography means.
I’ve found that people mix up vision with visualization being the latter in my opinion a step needed to nourish a good composition. Certainly visualization and composition are elements that you will use to ultimately convey your vision, a poorly composed image probably won’t engage people to your work therefore you won’t be able to establish that needed conduit with your audience in order to convey your vision, so from that perspective I tend to think of vision as a level above any composition, technical approach or visualization element you use to create your art but the initial question is still open, what is an artistic vision?
For me vision in plain English is simply “the way to perceive the world” in the understanding that perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. You and I can see to exactly the same thing and have two very different “visions” of that same thing because we’re different, we think different, we react different to the same external effects, we probably have different cultural and social backgrounds and another many reasons but the point is that our visions are different. So everyone has a personal vision but an artistic vision I believe is the ability to convey your personal vision through art whatever your art is: photography, painting, sculpture, etc.
When I see my image above I perceive something strange but powerful that catch my eye and almost erases the subject itself to focus on the shapes accentuated by the monochrome gamma and visually aggressive toning. So that’s my vision for this image, that’s what I would like to convey to my audience with this image. Some of you will like it some others won’t but at the end of the day that’s what I wanted to transmit (the artist vision) when I created this image.
Now, the immediate question you might have in mind is, do I’ve to have a vision perfectly defined and polished when I’m shooting with my camera? well that’s an interesting aspect that deserve to dedicate it some thoughts.
First of all I don’t think that you have to have a detailed vision when you’re shooting images with your camera however in order to be more effective in your artistic production it’s always good to at least visualize the kind of image you want to create, in my case — this could be different for other artists — creating an image is a two steps process.
The first step is what I call the production of raw imagery which is basically to go ahead and shoot images for any particular topic that I’ve already pre-visualized: landscapes, street photography, still life, portraits, I mean anything that strikes your cords, obviously in this first step is critical to understand at least basic principles of composition in order to capture visually attractive, aesthetic images.
The second step once I have the raw imagery consist on starting crafting an artistic image, so it’s here where I start articulating the artistic vision for that particular image and at the same time thinking about the best way to post-process the image in order to convey my vision.
Even though I didn’t cover the topic in an extensive way, I hope that at least I was able to successfully convey the message that without a vision there is not fine art photography, there are other areas of photography like photojournalism, sports etc. where the immediacy and accuracy of the moment are the essence of the endeavor but in fine art the essence is to have a vision of your art (e.g. your images)
Next week in the third and last part of this “Black White and Fine Art Photography” series I’ll cover the most technical aspect regarding producing black and white fine art photography images, I’ll cover both in-camera and post-production aspects that (at least in my approach) are equally important in order to get the best possible results.
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Have a fantastic day and thanks for reading my blog notes.
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