August 15, 2013

Photography As Fine Art

Many people are familiar with at least a few of the "big names" in photography, such as Ansel Adams, and have marveled at their work. Like other forms of art, the photographer is attempting to touch the viewer and to communicate ... to make a statement about how the photographer sees the world. These are the images that captivate, inspire, and challenge me because they come from a place that is inside and personal to the photographer.

But it took many years for photography to be accepted as a form of fine art. Naysayers characterized it as an artless craft reliant on mechanical devices readily available to the masses. Early in the last century, Ambrose Bierce satirically defined a photograph as "a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art." It was not until 1910 that the first photography collection was acquired by a gallery, and it was not until 1937 that the Museum of Modern Art in New York had its first exhibition of photography. And only in the late 1960s did photography start to be a collectable art form.

The view that photographs are not "true art" persists. My award-winning print "Cattail" (shown below) is a case in point. It won the prestigious Gold Medal award in the 97th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at Detroit’s historic Scarab Club. Since its founding in 1907 by a group of artists and art lovers, the Scarab Club has been active in the Detroit arts community, and the Gold Medal is the Scarab Club’s highest and most esteemed prize presented to its members. This was the first time it was awarded to a photographer ... and there was considerable controversy among the more "traditional" members about the juror's selection of a photograph.

Modern abstract artist Paul Klee wrote, “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” This is the essence of fine art photography – a visual image created by the artist as photographer.

"Cattail" from "Shadows"

August 1, 2013

About My Photographs

In the months to come, I will share occasional musings about the fine art of photography ... and what I like to shoot.

Late in a career in business, I discovered a passion for the fine art photograph and, through extensive personal study, developed my skills and personal vision as a photographer. In the process, I came to a deep understanding of how the photographer, the camera, and a subject intersect to create a compelling image.

People see the world in different ways and respond to it according to their own personality and experiences. Instead of trying to capture the world in the same ways that others see it, I express my unique viewpoint. By mastering the tools provided by the camera, I create photographs that portray a personal view of the world and communicate what I see to others.

Through my work I expose you to a different kind of image. Your experience is with photography that is about something. My photographs invite you to connect with a subject you may not immediately see and challenge you to find meaning in a purely abstract expression.

"Red Metal" from "Visible, Yet Unseen"