How would I define art or fine art? My short answer is: I wouldn’t.
I mean, who cares? There will never be a definition that everyone agrees upon and it doesn’t matter to me what someone else thinks about it anyway. If I love an image and then find out that it’s not considered fine art, do I love it any less?
The only thing that I concern myself with is this: Do I love the image and would I hang it on my wall?
I have a friend who looked at my image above and said: “this is not fine art because people don’t smile in fine art.” This image may or may not be fine art but I don’t think it has anything to do with the girl smiling!
Another friend told me that work created for money cannot be fine art. I’m not sure what a person’s motives have to do with it, shouldn’t it be about the image?
I choose not concern myself with such distractions. I simply know if I like something or I don’t and I figure that if I’m creating the piece, then my opinion is the only one that counts.
P.S. For those who know me a bit might ask why the seeming inconsistency between my rhetoric above and my actions? Three examples:
1. Go to Google and type in “Fine Art Photography” and see what you get. I’ve worked hard to be number 1 out of 143,000,000 hits.
2. If you were to overhear someone ask me “what do you do?” you’d then hear me say “I’m a fine art photographer.”
3. I am president of “The Center for Fine Art Photography.”
Despite how I might feel about defining “fine art” there is reality: we use words to describe things.
I target the term fine art with Google because that’s the phrase people use when they are searching for my type of images.
In the past when I told people that I was a photographer, I’d then spend the next 10 minutes explaining that I don’t do portraits, weddings or Bar Mitzvah’s.
And believe me, we have agonized over the term “fine art” over at the “Center” and wish we could find a better one.
The reality is that when I use the phrase “fine art photography” people generally know what I’m talking about. This is why I hate the term, but also use it.