In graduate school while studying photography, my initial thought was that my professors would teach me how to make the most beautiful image I was capable of making, I thought that was their charge, certainly, mastering the technical aspects of this medium is essential. What I discovered however, was that the camera is the tool that best expresses what I have to say as an artist.
Fine Art Photography can be best distinguished from a mere photograph by the intent of the artist or concept behind the image. A snapshot versus a creative expression.
Out of all of the mediums of art, I believe photography is most accessible with the advent of the point and shoot camera, underwater cameras, disposable cameras and cell phone cameras; in our society everybody is a fine art photographer, or can be one; right? Not exactly, the main questions to distinguish fine art photography and photography to ask are;
Is this just another pretty picture or snapshot?
Does the image evoke something in you when you view it?
Does it answer a question for you?
Does it confront you?
Does it stir you?
Is it relatable?
All of the things fine art expresses can be expressed in a photograph as well. A painter uses a paintbrush, a sculptor uses clay; the medium of choice for a fine art photographer is a camera, a device that most people have. The difference is how does one express themselves with this tool?
That my dear friend is the difference between fine art photography and mere picture.
Chair, Allen Cooley