Photography has so many different uses, but in this article I wanted to write about one use that is commonly overlooked, photography as a creative art. Photography as a creative art is not new. In fact, while not common knowledge (perhaps intentionally) many of the old masters of painting used photography when it was new and people had to hold poses for a long time yet they used photography for their creative art process from paintings of dancers to self portraits, many painters used photos that they took and those taken by others to help them create works of art.
Since then photography has gone to color and the quality has increased dramatically. Instead of only using photography as a reference for painting or drawing, it can also be used today for art. Lenses can be added on pro cameras, and even your consumer digital cameras of today are many times better than what was available just five years ago. I bet many old master painters would also have also done photography if our technology had existed then.
The general public normally thinks of photography as a way to document life’s events and happenings (In fact, I know of quite a few painters who feel that way too). It is great to take photos of birthdays, Christmas parties, weddings, baptisms, public celebrations, and family vacations. Yes, you were there because we see you in front of that monument, but what about the beauty of the monument as it is? Those who say photography cannot be an art make me wonder. I will just have to say that they probably have not tried very hard. There of course is nothing wrong with using photography as a way to document events both important and daily, but there is no reason to make that the only and exclusive use for a photo.
Creating art with photographs involves a different perspective and to get the most benefit you should decide before you take a photo what your goal is. If your purpose of the photo shoot is to document then ask yourself who, what, when, where, why, and how as in normal reporting. Try to get the photo to reflect those concepts of the event. In artistic photography you need to check the focus, lighting, feeling, colors, etc. Artistic photography does not need to imitate nature. It is not cheating.
Just as a painter can ignore parts of what he sees when painting so can you as an artistic photographer edit out or modify what you want. Why should you give yourself less freedom to use the tools at your disposal? A painter paints with a brush or palette knife and paint, a photographer artist creates art with light and a lens!