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What is Fine Art Photography?

People frequently ask me what exactly is fine art photography? Before I answer, I usually take a big breath and brace myself to answer the question in the time it takes to ride a few floors in an elevator as they usually expect a quick answer. And, despite my apprehension to answering their question, I have come to realize that most good answers are the ones that are simple and direct. Hence, I begin by clarifying that fine art photography does indeed have objective criteria despite falling in the subjective and vast realm of art.

1. Humback-BrianRiveraUncapher

Humpback – composed in San Juan Islands, WA NIKON D810 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 200, 1/2000, f/5.0

The principal and underlying criteria that distinguishes fine art photography from other fields in photography is that fine art photography is not about digitally recording a subject. Using a camera to document what exactly appears in front of the photographer usually falls in the category of photo-journalism and is frequently found in publications that feature purist images taken with a camera to record the scene as it exactly existed at a precise moment in time.