There’s not a single kind of fine art photography. If it were so, it would have been so boring.
But I would made a distinction from the beginning: there is a subject matter which is the goal of the work, and than there are the means to reach this goal. I don’t consider to be a fine art photography the work which sets the means for goals. On the contrary, I would say that it has great chances to be considered a fine art photography the work that uses the most appropriate means to express the subject the photographer choused. Talking about content and form is the same thing.
Besides this distinction, there are goals and goals. Mainly I distinguish two very large categories of such goals: beauty and truth. I also consider that a mature artist will have to choose one between these two, for the rest of his work life.
Also, a very important issue is the artist’s personality, because it always marks his work. And again, very basically, people born with a preference for (or reach it in the first 2-3 months of their life) one of the two very large groups of personality: neurotics or perverse. We all are both neurotics and perverse, but each of us is more one than the other. So, the viewers will also resonate with one or another artist, mainly according to their personalities. You cannot like both, Dorothea Lange and Diane Arbus. But this doesn’t mean that only one of them made fine art photography. The same in music: you cannot like both (at least not equally) Beethoven and Mozart, Wagner and Verdi, Mahler and Debussy, etc.
Well, this are the thoughts passing trough my head within these last 5 minutes.
"Fine art photography" is a concept that I have honestly never come to terms with. It's always been disagreeable to me.
In photography there is a continuum of effective art ranging from impromptu street "captures" to meticulously constructed, highly deliberative depictions with varying degrees of abstractness. I don't see a clear dividing line between fine and un-fine in this vast expanse.
Not all photographs are art, in the same way as not all sketches or drawings & paintings are art.
To be "fine art" a photograph or often a series of photographs is generlally of a standard that would be acceptable to a range of galleries and publications, and sold to collectors.
The term isn't specifically about subject, technique, fame, commercial success etc but is more about how work is perceived, conceptualised, executed and presented, and the photographer needs to be able to articulate the background to the work putting it into context vwith contemporary photographic practice.
In "fine" art the focus is on pure esthetics. Visual esthetics in the case of photography. And it has to be pleasing. Nice.
The subject matter matters very little, as long as the thingies look pleasing. So you could say fine art has no subject matter besides esthetics.
That opposed to "art", in which the subject matter is important, and there is no requirement to please.
The common discerning characteritic of a fine art photograph is the context of it's presentation.
Thanks guys - you've given me a lot to think about.
anything can be considered fine art or fine art photography ...
it all depends on who you are and who you are showing "the work" to ..
The way I see it, it is very simple:
If the photograph is there just for the purpose of being a photograph, or to sell itself as a photographic object, it is fine art.
If the photograph is used as imagery to sell or promote something else beside the photograph itself, it is not fine art, but commercial.
If it is neither, then it is neither. e.g. family album pix.
This being said, photos that were once fine art can be later used for commercial purposes (and vice versa in some cases), and stylistic crossover is not only possible, but extremely prevalent. Therefore, it is use and purpose of the images, not the style and/or content that makes the determination.
I see it even more simply: photos are either primarily art or primarily documentation.