Landscape Photography Workshops Lesson 01
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Gondola Builders, Venice, Italy. Fine Art Landscape Photography Workshops by David Osborn Photography
What Is Aesthetic Quality
01. Aesthetic Quality Links Photography To Art
How to visually communicate ideas and emotions using artistic principles. Cameras are tools, Photoshop is technique. Aesthetic skill is the bridge between your idea and production. The quality of your work is not defined by either tools or technique but by the aesthetic quality. How well you can communicate ideas and emotions artistically to the viewer without needing words. The ‘commercial value’ in your photographs is ultimately it’s aesthetic quality and appeal.
02. Cameras Are Recording Tools
A camera will not create a picture any more than a brush will create an oil painting. Cameras record, people create. We must understand the fundamental difference between taking pictures and creating pictures. If we take pictures, we are a prisoner of the tool; we add nothing of value to the photograph. If we create pictures, then we take control of the aesthetic quality and add value. You must add something personal to the photograph to give it value.
03. Where To Learn Aesthetics
Aesthetic quality is common to all forms of art, so the best way to learn aesthetic skill is to learn from other forms of art. Old master painters are history’s most qualified practitioners of aesthetic quality because painting requires starting with a blank canvas. They studied how to portray beauty, harmony, light, mood, drama, atmosphere, and spatial depth. Study old master paintings, work out what their solutions were, then use those solutions in your photography.
Aesthetics Of Photography
04. Photographs Must Create An Emotional Response
Our subconscious mind is an enormous database of memories and experiences built over our lifetime. Photographs that trigger an emotion or personal memory, we form an instant emotional bond with. This is the primary quality to aim for when creating photographs. Photographs that do not create an emotional response stop us connecting with the image; like hitting a glass door. We must provide a reward for the viewer investing their time in the photograph.
05. Photographs Must Communicate Ideas
Would we create a novel by writing thousands of random words? Then read those words back hoping we had created a story! The only story the book would communicate – was the lack of a story. Why should photography be different. If we have no idea why we are taking the photograph, how can we expect the photograph to communicate any idea. If the photograph has no idea, what is the purpose in creating it? Photographs like books, must have a clear story.
06. Photograph Must Have Artistic Quality
Photography is a process for making images, but the images themselves can be judged by the same aesthetic values we judge images created by other media; drawing, painting, print-making even film – universal aesthetic values that are common to all artworks. Therefore, photographers should aim for the same high artistic values of artworks made from other media. A photograph must be much more than a robotic recording, it must be have artistic quality.
07. Control And Manipulate The Viewer
The brain takes time to process information. The less information it must process, the quicker it can comprehend the meaning of what it is looking at. Simple, bold compositions communicate ideas faster because they are understood faster. Rich sub-detail gives the viewer a reward for investing the time in studying closer. Aesthetic skill gives you the ability to manipulate the viewer, having control over how they respond, and visually move around the picture.
08. Make Your Viewer Prisoner
Bold grabs attention. Detail holds attention. Mood creates a bond. Stop the viewer, take keep them prisoner. Use every technique to stop them leaving. You must captivate them. Photographs that captivate us, demand we psychologically walk into and around, searching, exploring, and discovering. They trigger our imagination providing us with a rewarding personal journey where we fill in the gaps. If a photograph does not give us a reward, why should we invest the time.
09. Aesthetics 50 Word Test
How can you test if a picture works? Show the photograph to a friend, ask them to write 50 words about the image. In a perfect world, they write a perfect description of your original idea and concept. This is probably expecting too much, but the image should spark something – a personal interpretation, a memory, a fictional story. If all they can write is a literal and dull description of the image’s contents, then the idea, aesthetics or execution have probably failed.
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