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Author Topic: about "What Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph?"  (Read 1177 times)


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    • Pieter Kers
about "What Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph?"
« on: February 18, 2023, 02:48:52 pm »

I guess it is a matter of taste; and my taste differs...
Making a perfect symmetrical composition of an iconic building...
then deleting the complete surroundings to form an abstract and adding a human being to set the scale and have a reference point...
and to call it " The way to make a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph"...
I would make it a bit less general; like:  This is my way to make...
Pieter Kers


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Re: about "What Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph?"
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2023, 05:10:20 pm »

Sometimes it just being there and expressing the image you saw, other times its the image! If you look at some of the great old masters and the images that made their books most are just hard to SWALLOW Great Fine Art for me.
If the image makes me want to make a similar one to me that's fine art.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kic

Jonathan Cross

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Re: about "What Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph?"
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2023, 04:41:37 am »

This is an interesting article, that for once has prompted a couple of reactions. 

1) I agree it is a matter of taste, but IMHO I have problem with the concept of being a Fine Art photographer.  Collins Dictionary contains the following meaning of Fine Art in American English:

'a visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture'

This seems to indicate that the word 'judged' means others decide whether it is fine art, not the artist/photographer who created the image. 

2) Putting a human in the image can be useful for scale and context.   Architecture is usually in the context of human use.  A photograph I took in 2012 in the City of Arts and Science in Valencia is a case in point. Those to whom I have shown it all agree that the figure much enhances the image. The English photographer, Charlie Waite, in one of his books, shows an image of a landscape with a small figure in red in it. Block that figure out and the image loses much.

As I wrote it is a matter of taste; YMMV.


Jonathan in UK


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Re: about "What Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2023, 10:12:32 am »

I have been a historian of architecture for thirty years. I can’t imagine ever calling anything a “fine art architectural photograph.” On the contrary, that title would automatically indicate kitsch to me. Certainly forget any brief piece that is so formulaic. Just pick up books on the great architectural photographers:

Fratelli Alinari (want to see Pisa in a new way? Forget the Pisa piece on this site, look at them instead)
Julius Shulman (check out the film visual acoustics about him, although I don’t think he ever thought of his photos as fine art…maybe that’s why they are so good)
Ezra Stoller
Ken Hedrich

Richard Nickel is very rewarding as well. A tragic story.

Even though they didn’t consider themselves photographers, the work of Berne and Hilla Becher is essential to any such discussion. Lewis Baltz fits here as well.

Of more recent photographers, people turn to Iwan Bwan a lot, but I feel that work is a bit formulaic. Richard Barnes is excellent.

Jonathan, your photo above is quite nice. I like it.



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Re: about "What Makes a Great Fine Art Architectural Photograph?"
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2023, 03:11:44 pm »

"Fine Art" words are fraught with differences of opinion, raw emotions and disagreements. Reading about others' opinions about what these words mean and how they should be defined has brought me to the conclusion that 'Fine Art" is a nebulous concept and each should define loosely for themselves what this means.
For me the counter of  a Fine Art photograph is a Documentary photograph. A documentary photograph records what is in the viewfinder; content of the frame, tone, colour, subject to the limitations of the camera and lens. A fine-art photograph is made by the maker. I have an idea about what my image will look like after I am done with editing it, before I expose to capture the assets I need for my project. The idea (others call it vision) informs all the choices and selections I make. My ideas are often driven by emotion, mood, mystery and ways of engaging the viewer.
I strive to make my artwork to express something more than the documentary duplication of the scene. Art that encapsulates an idea and causes the viewer to look deeply, wonder and search deeper. Artwork that engages the viewer more than just "I like it | don't like it" reaction.
So with this approach therefore it's quite possible to create a fine-art architecture photograph. It is the idea and creation of the maker, loosely coupled with the physical creation of the architect or builder.
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