124 Photography as Fine Art? with Erin Babnik

Art. What is it? Is your photography Art? Are you an artist? There’s many different opinions about this idea of art and photography. One thing is for sure, a photographer is a creative person, generally speaking anyway. But when you apply the term of art, when and why would you do that? What’s the point? Does it matter? Today I’ve got a wonderfully special guest joining me on this topic and I’m just loving it. This is Latitude Photography Podcast, Episode 124 for August 3, 2021

Listen where you want:

August Topic

The topic for August, 2021 is #InTheCity. Please get your submissions in by the 24th of August to be considered for the broadcast on the 26th. I’ll be on YouTube and I’m planning on doing it once again at 6:15 p.m. and we’ll see how that works for us once again. Submit images to the facebook group with the hashtag InTheCity and let’s see what you’ve got. 

 =And the design principle I’d like to see us focus on, if possible, is Color. Any color will work. Looking for ways to either showcase a single color, lots of color, anything to do with color. Let’s see what you can come up with.

Minnesota water-FALL-color Workshop info: Sign up today!

In a previous episode I’d mentioned the conundrum about my L bracket with the R5. I went with the Three legged thing as it’s orange and all the others, from RRS to the cheap brands all looked the same. So I actually made my decision based on color. But it doesn’t allow for full articulation of the flippy screen which stinks.

Well, listener Ej Linser brought to my attention the PMG brackethttps://www.promediagear.com/PLCR56–L-Bracket-Plate-for-Canon-EOS-R5-R6-Mirrorless-Camera_p_475.html

Which does allow for full articulation since the vertical mount portion is not aligned with the side of the camera. I feel kinda dumb for not looking up the PMG option since my bracket for the 5D4 is by PMG and I literally thought to myself, I should look up PMG and see what they have before I hit the buy button here… But alas, I didn’t. So Ej earns a golden hat for this recommendation 🙂


Photography as fine art.

Way back on June 22, I posed a question in the facebook group. I said, “When you hear the term “Fine Art” do you think it applies to your photography?

As in, do you see yourself as a fine art photographer or maybe… Do you aspire to have your works be considered fine art?

Is Fine Art to “stuffy” of a term?

Today, I have a special guest to help me think through this topic. She is Erin Babnik, Erin Welcome to the show!

Our Pics we talked about in this episode

Talking Points:

  1. Let’s assume there’s two or three listeners out there who don’t know you or your work. What would you like for them to know about you, your work and I’d like to know how you got started as a photographer.
  2. Your Quote on your Canon Explorer of Light page states, “Exploration is the key to creativity. The more that you find to photograph, the more that you find yourself.” (further thoughts and commentary shall ensue!)
  3. Fine Art. It’s kind of loaded. I’d like to know your thoughts on the topic and then we’ll get in to what the listeners have said and we’ll comment on those as well. So your thoughts on Fine Art and how Photography is a part of that. And also, has the photography industry ever really settled on it means to have photography considered as fine art? That seems to be the listener comments that we’ll get to in a moment.
  4. Aref Alragehi says, “I personally don’t think it applies to me but I hope to get there one day. The reason I say that stems from my understanding of what it means which may not be accurate. Basically I think Fine Art is for a meticulous piece of work not just from a composition perspective but all the way through the print creation, the medium it is printed on the framing and perhaps even the lighting recommended for best viewing. I think there has been also an over use of the term I mean just because the photo is in B&W or it is a long exposure photo does not make it fine art
  5. Josh Austin states, “I have always understood fine art to be simplistic in nature. Something that could be hung on a wall anywhere in the world, not constrained by geographic area, genre, or style. I guess “tastefully simple” would be how I would understand it.”
    And then after some further thought he clarifies, “tastefully, intentionally, simple. I think intentionality is important, a simple composition should not come across as lazy or uninspired but be intentional.”
  6. Brett Baker says, “I have seen some pieces that seem to be labeled “fine art” for marketing reasons. I feel like the photography community has not come together on a distinct definition. Some say that it’s impossible for photography to be “fine art” because it doesn’t require the same degree of skill as other media. Others seem to think that minimalism is the only way to achieve “fine art”. Personally, I think that truly “fine art” is capable of stirring some type of emotion in various people and for various reasons, regardless of the medium.”
  7. Stanley Harper doesn’t view the term Fine Art to be a “stuffy” term. And he points out that even automotive photography can be a form of Fine Art. And he wrapped up his thoughts by saying, “I do consider some of my work to be “fine art” and there is such a thing as “fine art photography” and yes, that term can be used to describe even those shots that are clearly within the journalistic sphere because the shooter took an approach to create an image that will be a wall hanger.”
  8. Zelda Zaragoza Johns agrees with Aref a bit. “I don’t know if I consider the term overused so much as misused. Some wedding photographers call themselves fine art photographers. I personally believe you can’t call yourself a fine art photographer if you’re delivering hundreds of digital images to a client.” Maybe there’s other ways the term is misused as well?
  9. Kirk Keyes chimed in with, “What I find pretentious is “Giclee”, if anyone still uses that!!”
  10. Aaron Martinez, a photojournalist, says, “I’m not even sure what the term “fine art” actually means in relation to photography.”
  11. Joel Galbraith responded to Aaron with the idea that planning really goes into it. Planning locations, how the shot is made, and what you do in post production.
    But Erin, in your quote we started this conversation with, you start with the word “exploration” which signifies to me a bit of the unknown. A sense of discovery. This seems to be the opposite of Joel’s approach.
  12. Alan Comer describes it this way, “The thing they seem to have in common is that those images (I like to think) make you want to stop and spend some time in them rather than just a passing glance.”
  13. Darren Whiteley has an interesting thought. He says, “I find the photography community’s overwhelming desire to label or constrain artistic freedom as one of its negatives. Why can’t you be a photographer that enjoys all genres? Those that have ability to turn their skills to all of the genres are often frowned upon, particularly in critiques when they provide examples of work from more than one genre – it is as if excelling at one somehow makes you more of an artist than someone who has transferable skills.”
  14. David Medeiros says, “I do think of my work as fine art, or at least that’s the intention with my BW photography.” I have to admit, I’ve had some similar thoughts about my B&W work but I think it’s because that was the pivot point of my work as purely done for myself vs for my agent to sell. As I’ve not submitted to my agent in a LOOOONG time, that idea of B&W only as my fine art work is weakening. My color work is seen more as fine art in my view now.

Check out Erin’s great photography at https://erinbabnik.com

Resources and Links

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