In this digital age, all of us are exposed to an abundance of different types of photography. Most of us who have a passion for the art form can tell the difference between good and bad, but other more subtle intricacies remain the domain of photographers alone.
Like any work of art, it’s easy to label our love for photography that crosses our path with gushing comments like ‘That’s awesome!’, ‘That’s weird’, ‘That’s disturbing’, ‘That’s just madness!’ or, worst of all, simply ignore it as it has completely failed to move us.
Ignoring bad photography is the best thing you can do. For the good stuff, understanding the subtleties of the artform and the time and talent that has been dedicated to achieving it can help us appreciate the art of photography even more.
In the same way those who dance appreciate the difficulty of a dancer’s move, photographers appreciate the complexity of another’s photographer’s work.
TV programs like So You Think You Can Dance? have brought joy to viewers all over Australia as contestants and judges break down a dance into struggles and steps, so we can fully appreciate the complexity. Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, there is no So You Think You Can Photograph? equivalent, so we – as the art-consuming public, are left with little knowledge or understanding of how to critique a photo. In fact, the jargon – unless you are a photographer yourself – can all seem fairly meaningless.
So I guess this piece is a first step in explaining to the Wall Art Prints community what different types of photography means to us. It’s not a definitive essay by any stretch; simply an introductory perspective on how we make sense of the big wide world of photographic art.
1. Landcape Photography
Landscape photography presents to us a place in the world that appears as if it’s infinite or, in colloquial terms, not going anywhere in a hurry! Therefore, much landscape photography concentrates on nature and the outdoors, but manmade interferences to the natural environment may also be captured.
That said, nothing in landscape photography distracts us from the landscape. There is no ‘strange’ element. The beauty of landscape photography is the landscape itself. It’s why we love road trips, bushwalking, climbing and boating.
We love landscape photographic art when it’s featured in the home as it has the ability to take you anywhere in the world: to a tumbling waterwall, a peaceful old river jetty or a gracious old growth forest.
2. Travel Photography
Surely this is everyone’s dream job? If only we had the talent, the energy and the courage? The travel photography you and I might enjoy – you know, the 600 plus photos we took on our trip to Bali – pales in comparison to the art of travel photography.
Sure, you got that one hero shot you love, but professional travel photographers take it to a whole new level. Travel photography is essentially a documentation of one person’s experience in a place different from their own – the gorgeous vistas they chance upon; the amazing people they meet; the different cultures and customs they experience and the rich history they encounter.
None of us – even the rich among us – have the time or the money to experience everything the world has to offer. That’s where travel photographers come in. Not just one of them, but the many whose vast works fill up our hearts and our souls.
Our Travel Photography gallery gives you the opportunity to take a trip around the world without leaving home. The bonus is, you can purchase a piece for your home – somewhere you’ve already been or somewhere you’d love to go.
3. Nature Photography
The impact National Geographic has had and continues to have on how we view the natural environment globally is wholly attributed to the extraordinary nature photography that featured on the magazine’s front covers and inside articles since 1888. In my youth I cut out animal pictures from the magazines and created a scrapbook. Today, people of all ages pin and share their favourite nature photos on social media.
Nature photographers use their privilege of access and their quality of patience to capture and celebrate the natural beauty of our planet – our natural environment, flora and fauna. Their style is wide ranging, but they are devoted to the outdoor world.
So while we might shoo away mosquitoes, moths and midges from our living areas, we welcome monkeys, mantarays and meerkats into our hearts and homes – albeit on canvas!
4. Black and White Photography
The epitome of sophistication, black and white photography is the art of taking away colour in order to add something special. It lets a subject speak for itself. It brings tonal quality to the fore.
Photographic artists have trained their eyes to see the world in colour and in mono. They then shoot accordingly. Others use photo editing software to play around with colour photos to see which looks better – colour or mono.
Black and white photography is evocative and makes for striking canvas art at home or in the office – giving a space atmosphere and edge. It sits at home in the camps of both classic and contemporary photography. It’s a crowdpleaser each and every time, so is the perfect gift for a loved one.
5. Abstract Photography
“To abstract is to draw out the essence of a matter. To abstract in art is to separate certain fundamentals from irrelevant material which surrounds them.” – Ben Shahn
Abstract photography is no different from Shahn’s quote above. It’s about creating beauty in a subject by removing it from its true purpose and instead focusing on its shape, colour and texture.
Abstract photography creates a mood and invites a feeling. When we see wood represented in the abstract, we’re not meant to wonder where the wood came from (a tree? a log? a desk?); we’re meant to simply enjoy the wood.
Seeking out abstract art photos that celebrates colour can take you on a wonderful adventure into the unknown to create classy interior décor.
6. Contemporary Photography
On the cutting edge, contemporary photography compels the viewer to think and to feel. It’s not only eye-catching, but it’s hard to look away.
“Wow!” or “Cool” or “Want” are just some of the reactions we receive when we share a piece from our contemporary photography range.
Contemporary photography is there to challenge your emotions, so you won’t love all of it but you will be unable to resist some of it.
7. Still Life Photography
Still life photography is a favourite when decorating cafes, day spas, hotels, home sewing rooms and informal dining areas.
Think flowers, food, fruit, pots, bottles, statues, rocks and shells. Still life photography is sometimes candid, but often it is stylised by the photographer prior to shooting.
So if you’re keen to add charm, colour and light to a room featuring non-controversial subjects that are universally enjoyed, still life is your friend.
8. Sports Photography
The bets are still running with regards to who is crazier – the sports photographer or the athlete.
Wall art of our favourite sport – featuring something we cannot do ourselves (or are still yet to achieve!) – can inspire us, each and every day, to go beyond what is possible.
Whether it’s skiing, surfing, sailing, cyling or ballet, sports photographers capture the awesome act and the sensational spirit of the talented subject.
Sports photography, when featured in an office, bachelor pad, games room or children’s bedroom, shines a light on what’s possible when you aim for greatness in a way words will rarely if ever achieve.
So when you’re watching the next episode online of ‘So you think you can photograph?’ remember there’s more to photography than meets the eye. Browse our Photography Gallery now.
“Photography helps people to see.” – Berenice Abbott