What is Fine Art Photography? If you search it in Google Images, you’ll come up with a wide variety of results. The only commonality between them being that none of them are attempting to portray their subjects strictly realistically.
Fine Art Photography isn’t an easy term to pin down. I use it to distinguish the pictures that I create as personal projects, in which I’m trying to incorporate a little bit of the fantastical with reality, from Client images. Sometimes, I feel a little silly using the term “Fine Art”…just because I don’t often use the word “fine” in that sense in everyday speech…”I feel fine.”, “That’s fine.”, “(sigh)…fine.” They all seem to imply “good enough”. Sometimes it’s appropriate, because I’m disappointed in the outcome of an image. After working and working and working, I finally decide that it’s not ever quite going to be the original idea in my head and is good enough. That’s what often happens when I set out to create an image that, in some way, doesn’t quite jive with reality. But, in setting a goal to create Fine Art, I’m always, initially, aiming for more…I’m working towards the “fine” of a fine wine–high quality, admirable.
Those times when I feel as though I’ve captured something really fun, interesting, or important in the way I’ve manipulated an image, are incredibly fulfilling. Those instances are usually few are far between, because let’s face it, no one is a harsher critic on their work than themselves. Sometimes you can go a little crazy when things aren’t turning out as you’d hoped. The doubt creeps in and soon you start to feel as though you never should have started the project in the first place.
I’m ashamed to admit that I hit that point with this image. I had this idea of creating a dress out of individual pictures of buttons. I knew it would be tedious, but I also knew it would be possible. My mother has saved every single button she has ever come in contact with since somewhere around 1970–the button supply would not be an issue. The problem came in forming them into a dress. Each button set in place made the dress simultaneously both better and worse to my eye. I just couldn’t come to like the dress or hate it enough to quit. After working on the picture for many hours spread over a two week period (“maybe, just one more button…(insert insane laughter)!”), my husband finally spoke up and asked when I’d ever be finished with the picture. I groaned and complained and whined that I couldn’t get it right. I wanted to abandon the image–after all it was only a personal project. I had given up on them before.
The picture nagged at me, though. It bothered the perfectionist in me to let anyone see it, but it bothered my stubborn side to throw it away. I decided that this year, my personal projects will be about trying different techniques. Trying different ideas, even the ones that don’t quite pan out…and seeing them through to completion (whatever the heck that means). Because, after seeing around the prejudice I’ve had against this image for weeks, I now really like it. I have twenty-one 4gb tiff files-worth of photoshop layers of buttons…of blood, sweat, and tears…and I made a dress. In this instance the “fine” became “fine-ally”. Ironically, the picture was originally supposed to be about security, but quickly became about driving yourself crazy. Did you know that the phrase “having (or losing) all one’s buttons” is interchangeable with “having (or losing) all one’s marbles”? I do.
Limited Editions available in the Shop. The Coupon code BDAY40 for 40% off is still good!