Definition of a fine art photographer:
A person who applies decades of hard-won skill and experience to the task of turning vast amounts of expensive equipment and materials into landfill…
and a few dozen really exceptional photographs.
As for the itinerant part (see logo above), true to that claim I have recently relocated to Arizona from Texas. My subject matter is the Southwest desert so at any given point in time you might find me in Arizona, New Mexico or West Texas.
My name is David Kachel (pronounced: cockle), and I am an artist-photographer…
Most people in my profession use the more traditional term, fine art photographer. But in today’s world that title has lost any real meaning. It has been usurped by tens of thousands of people who haven’t the slightest idea what it means, or once meant, but who have found that its use helps them to drum up more wedding and yearbook picture business. The internet is awash in them, to the degree that you cannot locate any real fine art photographers by searching for the term. All that remains is for the term to be discovered by the paparazzi and UPS stores with passport cameras.
Rather than swim upstream, I am using artist-photographer, until they steal that one too. Maybe we’ll end up calling ourselves politicians. Not much chance of anyone trying to steal that!
What all this really means is that I am an artist who happens to use a camera and darkroom, or a camera and computer (I freely use the best tools from both worlds), instead of a paintbrush or chisel, and that instead of making photographs that are mere records of what was in front of the camera, I use what was in front of the camera as only one of the ingredients, to produce something new. Ordinary photography is a literal recording of the scene. Fine art photography is an interpretation that takes place mostly after the shutter is released, and can range from subtle to extreme.
In order to qualify as art, a photograph must be more than just a photograph. It must transcend being just clever, or a mere record, but it must also remain true to the finest qualities of the photograph. Most importantly, it must maintain the illusion of reality, photography’s strongest asset.
For example, here is how the above image came out of the camera…
Now you can more readily understand that photography’s unique illusion of reality is, at least in part, what allows a photograph to rise to the level of art. Of course, it remains to be determined whether or not that art is in fact, good art. That decision is up to you.
A painter often uses a photograph as a reference.
Oddly, fine art photographers do much the same thing!