No formula exists for making fine art. It is the elusive quality that makes the work of art rare and consequential. However, certain important elements can be explored. One is the idea of commitment. For the Fine Art photographer, there must first be the commitment to being an artist. Then we have the commitment to photography as the means of expression. There is commitment to a particular set of choices available to the photographer—subject matter, equipment, lighting, film, printing, location and so on. Eventually, there is hyper-commitment to each and every element in every frame a photographer chooses to expose. This is the time when the artist trusts himself so thoroughly that he has cast aside any need for outside approval.
I encourage my students to commit. When a student has very little idea how to begin this process, I will ask him or her to commit to anything! Making specific choices does not limit the artist, but frees him to fully develop his gifts. My students rapidly discover if their choices are incompatible with their real passions. In this case, they usually lose interest in the area of their commitment. This can lead to a certain soul-searching that draws the artist closer to his or her natural calling, closer to an instinctive realization that more and more specific commitments are ‘right’ for that individual.
This is a series of articles by professional photographer, educator and author Rob Goldman. All articles are the property of Mr. Goldman and may not be reprinted without express, written permission.
The following images were taken by members of Long Island Photo Gallery in the spirit of their personal commitment to Fine Art Photography.