I was having a cyber-wander throught some photographic gallery websites on the net the other evening (for a bit of inspiration) and a couple of things struck me:
1) A huge percentage of what I saw was described (by the photographer) as "Fine Art"
2) There was no attempt to explain why the photos were "Fine Art" or how they achieved that high-status sounding designation when compared with similar work by other photographers which were just labeled as "landscape". "portrait", "still life" or other more understandable descriptions....
The overriding impression I got was that the term "Fine Art" is much over-used (according to Google, there are 66.6 million sites with that tag....!!) and the only common characteristics seemed to me to be:
(a) poorly lit
(b) very low - or very high - contrast
(c) "soft" focus and/or heavily filtered
(d) often significant motion blur
(e) mundane subject matter masquerading as something meaningful - a stone on a beach = "lonely"
(f) grainy and/or blotchy
(g) heavily vignetted
(h) toned in any of several icky ways
(i) bloody expensive if you want to buy a print
I have deliberately exaggerated to highlight the issues
Frankly, although some of the pictures were pleasant enough, the photographer seemed to want to justify the price by virtue of them looking like they were taken a hundred and fifty years ago and/or resembled a painting.
In my opinion, if "fine art" exists at all, it is what the viewer says it is - and not what the photographer describes it as.