Before work can become fine art the artist has to have a vision of what they think their work will look like.
Fine art is about an idea, a message, or an emotion. The artist has something that they want to have conveyed in their work.That idea or message may be something small, a single word such as abandon, or it may be a whole statement, like exploring the way the moon affects the tides. It is a start. It is like a hypothesis.
The work you create to demonstrate your vision and ideas has to have a consistency to it. When all the work is together it has to have similarities. Often artists will use the same medium and techniques for each idea.
Body of Work
In the end, there has to be a body of work that shows your ideas, subjects and techniques. If you were to get your images into a gallery there would need to be a uniformity to them all.
Finally, you would most likely need an artist statement. A short explanation of what the work is about, why you created it and how. When you go to a gallery you might look at the work and wonder what it is about, so you look for the artist statement. It will help you figure out what the artist's intentions were, the reasons why, and how they created that work.
So you want to be a Fine Art Photographer?
You don’t need to have a degree in fine arts to be a fine art photographer, but you do need to think carefully about your work and what you want to achieve with it.
Getting your ideas together
- Brainstorming is a great idea, sitting down and just writing ideas down.
- What topics do you feel passionate about?
- What messages do you want to convey?
- What subjects do you like to photograph?
- What techniques are you interested in?
Just write and don’t take too much notice of what you are writing, it is about getting your thoughts down on paper. It might not make any sense at first, but as you work through your ideas it will start to do so.
Deciding on your topic
Topics can be anything. They don’t have to be heavy topics like ones that are really political, or socially conscientious. I used consumerism, as I’ve had a couple of exhibitions that were based on that concept, and the idea that we were turning our homes into massive rubbish (garbage) bins.
Working out your message, or the motivation behind it, can be a little bit more difficult. Perhaps for something like consumerism you might want to explore the impact it has on the environment, or what is going to happen to all the goods that we keep buying.
Finding the subject for your photos
What is your subject matter going to be? Would you photograph rubbish piles? Maybe look directly at the different brands, and all the different products they come out with. What your images are going to be off, is just as important, and should link to your topic or message.
Working out your technique
The technique isn’t so important, it just has to be the same for all the images. You can experiment to start with, to help you work it out, but once you have what you want then your body of work has to all be similar. You are looking to create a cohesive portfolio that will look great, and connect together when on display.
Creating your body of work
You should make as much work as you can. If you are planning an exhibition, then you need to know how much work you will need for it. When it is all done there are going to be pieces that simply won’t work and you will be better off leaving them out. It is difficult to work out what is best for an exhibition, and just because you made it doesn’t mean it belongs.
Your Artist Statement
Finally, you need to write that artist statement. It needs to be written in what they call artspeak, or language that fits in with the art world. It has to sound good. If you are applying to galleries then your artist statement is what they are going to take notice of, just as much as your work.