Photographs Everywhere, But Is It
by Sue Kennedy
I once heard a lady say to a photographer that she would
have bought his work if it had been a painting. She liked
the image, but for whatever reason didn't consider the
medium suitable for her it's just a photo.
I am sure that some share her thoughts, whilst others
would be quite happy either way, but a growing number
of people do recognise photography as an Art form. And
There are three fundamental components of what we
call art. First, is the artist; second, is the medium;
and third is the artwork. All three, clearly are interrelated.'
--- Tad Beckman ---
Defining Photographic Art
It is true many people do regard photography as merely
a reproductive medium, and the photographer as simply
the technician. And if this were just about your holiday
snaps then it would be a valid point.
So let's start with my definition of photographic art.
I say my definition because there is no stock answer it
means different things to different people.
For me it's about creating a beautiful image that is an
interpretation of the scene that I saw in my mind captured
on film, rather than just a recording of what is already
It's about the photographer being the choreographer of
the various components; the composition is critical, as
is the lighting, weather conditions and the colours at
It's not just about pressing the shutter release, although
timing is everything. Patience comes into play too, as
you wait for all the components to be perfect all at the
Some things you can control, but the weather well that
constantly throws out surprises that can add that hint
of drama to a picture or send you home disappointed.
It's these uncertainties that add the challenge, and this
results in creativity as you respond to the situation.
Other photographers will have their own criteria, but
we all are producing very personal pieces of work that
we feel passionate about and that are a representation
of our interpretation of the world.
A Photograph - More Than Just A Sheet Of Paper With An
Image On It?
Oh yes! Typically a photographer will capture an image
that pleases their eye. They will create something that
is close to their heart, and therefore give a little of
themselves in the image.
Effectively they are allowing you to see how they perceive
the world to be, one moment at a time. Add into the fact
that many photographers print their own work (once they
have an order!), and sign it then you could say you are
buying a piece of history - or designer art!
In other words you are not buying a mass produced print,
and naturally the price reflects this. You are buying
into the reputation of that photographer and you will
expect to pay more. When someone is starting out and building
reputation then you are investing in the potential of
You won't pay as much, but you'll be backing your own
instinct and demonstrating your belief in that person's
talent. Contemporary photography is affordable art.
Subject Matter - Does It Matter?
Personally I don't believe it does, and I mean this in
the sense that people will be drawn to your work because
they have seen something of yours and liked your style,
and typically that means they like your choice of subject
My preference is for landscapes and increasingly flowers,
whilst other photographers prefer sport, people or a more
abstract approach to name but a few.
I think the key to preserving artistic integrity is to
shoot for your own personal satisfaction, although naturally
as your reputation builds you will develop an understanding
of what collectors want, but for me I always have to love
the image myself to want to share it with the world. Anything
less and it stays in the drawer!
I still experiment, and search for new subject matter,
but my photographic style is what it is. It just keeps
A New Language
Understanding the language of the image is something quite
individual to the viewer, it does not explain itself in
the same way to each person. It is subjective. And although
some may view photography as easy, believing that there
own point and shoot cameras can produce similar results
to a master photographer are confusing the issue.
After all most of us have made paintings at some time
in our lives, and may still own paint brushes, but wouldn't
necessarily look at a painting by a master and not consider
it to be art would we?
It is the heart and hand of the author behind the brush,
camera or pen that executes the creative vision not the
About The Author
Sue Kennedy, LRPS & LBIPP
Sue Kennedy is an UK based photographer specialising in
outdoor photography and works on commission for companies
& individuals as well as shooting for picture libraries.
To purchase from Sues current print and card selection
visit her Website: http://www.blueeyesphoto.com