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Fine art photography is a purely subjective category. Since its inception, photography has been a stepchild within the art world, and photographers have struggled to be accepted as true artists. As a group, they have had less difficulty being acknowledged as documentarians, portraitists and even technicians because of the photographic equipment that is seen to intervene between the subject and the photographer’s final output.
However, in reality, the “camera,” in one form or another, has been used by artists since the 15th century. David Hockney, in his ground-breaking book, Secret Knowledge – Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, reveals how painters such as Caravaggio, Velázquez, van Eyck, Holbein, and da Vinci used mirrors and lenses to help them create their masterpieces. Are we to discount the brilliance of these Old Masters’ work as fine art simply because they relied on mechanical devices such as the camera lucida?
Today, prestigious auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s are gaveling down astounding sums for photographic prints including those produced with a digital camera. Museums are growing their collections of fine art photography as well. Photographer and educator, Ted Orland, co-author with David Bayles of Art & Fear – Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making observed, “If you have a continuum that runs from traditional photography to painting, digital photography falls close to painting.”
With that said, what makes one photograph fine art and another not? Further, what makes one photographer a fine artist and another not? As stated at the outset, the answer to those questions is purely subjective. In the category of Fine Art Photographs, we have included work by other photographers as well as individual images created by Frank Barnett. Many are available in our online store.
In addition to the fine art photography by Frank Barnett, our gallery also features an inventory of images by photographers Ruth Bernhard, Martha Casanave, Mark Howell, Gene Kennedy, Kerik Kouklis, Roman Loranc, Rondal Partridge, Ryuijie, William Scott and John Wimberley.
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