Photography as Art

Photography as art is now an accepted premise by the art world. Yet many photographers reject the use of tools which can be used to refine images into art.

High Dynamic Range as a art tool

High Dynamic Range as a art tool

When I choose an image to be an art image I often use various tools to change the texture, enhance color or even modify elements of the image. Sometimes as in this example I exaggerate tonal rangers and contrast so that details become a key to defining what I want the image to say. In this case I was trying to impart a holiday color to leaves that gave them meaning as a second chance to impact those who saw them.

What is Artistic Vision?

What I saw and what it became are imaginations apart.

What I saw and what it became are imaginations apart.

I am a photographer sometimes and a digital artist at other times. I use the various tools – lens and software – to create my own world. Artistic vision lives, for me, in the mind. When I photograph something for a print or “straight” image what I really see are levels of contrast and forms. When I create Some digital art the forms, contrast, and colors seem to “swim” to a place they want to be. Letting the forms migrate to where they want to be as the colors to morph into the shades they prefer come from the artistic vision portion of my mind. Most often this is not a calculated process but something organic that just happens.

More Digital Art

Texture in Photography

Texture in Photography is a mixture of contrast and sharpnexx

Texture in Photography is a mixture of contrast and sharpness

For me texture can be captured in photography and contrast, subject and sharpness are all key elements in creating an image that does have “texture”. Try different angles and in process be sure to work your levels/curves to bring out many contrast levels. your eyes will tell you when you have achieved the maximum level of “texture” in your creation. Always take several views of an item in which you want to show texture, as just a slight re-framing can make the difference.

Don’t let technology rule your art…..

I’ve seen so many people selling cameras that are less than a year or two old that I wonder if it impacts their creativity as find and purchasing a new camera does for me. If you are always looking for the next best thing to get the perfect image you won’t ever get full benefit out of your tools. The old saying “lens are forever” may not be quite true but in the long run lens offer more help in creative than successive generations of cameras. I find that it takes me several years to really get the most out of a new camera body, and I keep most of my bodies for 4 to 6 years. I use 3 bodies and thus I do get a new camera about every two years but I still have two bodies with which I am very familiar. For someone just starting I’d highly recommend getting a two or three year old camera and spend on getting 2 lenses. Often less is more if you want to concentrate on your art and not gear collection.

Experimental Art – Getting past perceptual defenses

When I really want to push the envelope of creativity the means I use is Experimental Art – Getting past perceptual defenses

While I don’t do a lot of experimental art, I often try to break every rule when I do. It is like playing notes that are discordant – give people what they are used to and they are comfortable, make them uncomfortable and they might see in a different perspective.

This, for me, though does have limits based on my own values. You have to choose your own values in the creation of experimental art.

Here is my latest sample:


Always exploring “what is art” and the creative tools to make art a reality or virtual reality. Keeping raw edges and movement in a way that is not smooth can help art get past emotional perceptive blocks IMHO.

The camera vs the mind

Seeing Between The Lines – Make sure your vision exceeds your cameras.

I hardly ever take an image to capture “just what is there” – except for wildlife. I often can feel an image in a scene but can’t see it until I process it. It is a hard concept to understand, but artistic vision is surely different than eye sight in the brain. How many times have you had to let an idea develop before you could see it clearly? Use your eyes/camera as a very large net and your mind to sort it all out.