After presenting much of my artworks made with the selective focus technique, I received a message on why I leave so little in focus while making moody photos. Well, my intention is manifold. One is to setup the frame on the basis of a single point of interest and drive the observer's eye effortlessly to it. This specific point holds the whole message of an artwork. Even though the viewer is able to feel the psyche of a scene, there is always a selection of outmost interest within the frame, usually one that is related to emotions, memories and strong relations between a person and the things/objects that he interacts with. This concept is effectively recreated by the use of specific optics, shooting angles and effective post processing.
I'm mostly a fine art photographer (term used in its general form) and what I read most at the upper-level tutorials is that the so called factor of "difference" and being distinguishable is the photographer's holy grail. The goal is to make photos that one will look at and say "hey, this was surely taken by X, I know his style". This is my personal opinion but I have to say that looking for such an attribute in thousands of photos taken by both pros and amateurs alike, I rarely see this happening. But, you know what? this isn't essentially a bad thing. I mostly look for the "signature" that one leaves on a photo he has created and talking about landscape, fine-art architectural and photo manipulation photography, there are only but a few artists that have achieved a signature style. Should others worry about not making the cut yet? I think not.
More often than not, I stumble upon quotes derived from workshops or even acclaimed photographers as they talk about "being different" in what we shoot, that is to be able to capture something that no one else has, to take photos that no one did etc. We are totally beaten by a trend of "don'ts" and "nevers" and we are hard pressed to think (or even invent) of different kinds of photos.
It is quite common these days to see terms being misused and photography genres suffering from "mutation" due to devious marketing. One specific genre that seems to meet these attributes is "'fine art photography" or as some fellow photographers call it "artistic photography". In order to define what is fine art photography, we first need to define what it isn't. Well, for starters, when you see classic landscape shots, portraiture, photojournalism or street photos under this tag, rest assured someone is being confused on photo terminology. Making a connection between e.g. classic landscape photography (either colored or b&w/monochrome) and fine art photography is a tricky thing to do. The same goes for plain street photography or the usually enticing portraits.
Almost all photographers know for a fact that the essence and quality of light in a picture is one of the most important of its elements. Indeed, bad light could ruin a shot and good light will surely enhance it. The main difference in the quality of light is its definition of "diffused" or "directional". To me, useful light means diffused light. Be it a long exposure shot or a distorted one, I always prefer to shoot under cloudy/overcast conditions. Apart from the technical issues that are closely related to the type of light, to me, working with diffused light is very important when I setup my composition and framing.
Most of the photographers out there agree with the stance that a photo that isn't shared, does not exist (in other words, if you are not willing to share a photo, you better not make it at all). Well, I belong to the minority and think that this stance isn't necessarily true. Indeed, we capture moments but we do this not for the likes of others or for public appreciation but for our own sake. Primarily, a photograph is a form of visual contemplation, a creation closely connected to our inner being. What we do with it depends on many things but it isn't mandatory to share it with others. Not doing so doesn't make a photo less valuable to us. Even though a photo can be a means of alternative communication, such a creation isn't always meant to serve this purpose. This also happens with other forms of art such as painting, sculpture, music etc. I always adopt the notion that we take photos for us, not for the others and under these conditions, we may keep some of our creations for our eyes only.