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Easter-Bonus Discount at ars mundi - 6.5% discount on online purchases (except books, calendars and gift vouchers) - 21 February 2024 - 3 March 2024


Since the beginning of the 20th century, photographic art has been considered part of the fine arts, just like painting and sculpture. Art photography is not primarily about depicting reality but about creating a new reality with the help of technology.

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Fine-Art Photography – Camera Instead of Brush and Canvas

The invention of photography in the mid-19th century brought about not only fundamental changes in science, business, society but also in art. The artistic avant-garde in many countries discovered photography as a means of expression at the beginning of the 20th century. Within a few decades, photography evolved into a central discipline of the fine arts. Various genres emerged within the realm of art photography, for example, portraits, architecture, nudes, nature, landscapes, and experimental photography. You can find a variety of works from these categories at ars mundi. In addition, you can buy black and white photographs and coloured art photography.

Art Photography – Much More Than Images of Reality

Art photography differs in many ways from other forms of photography. It doesn't focus primarily on the documentary aspect or the representation of reality, as is often the case in journalistic photography. Instead, art photography creates its own reality and offers new and individual perspectives on the motifs. However, the statements and messages associated with art photography are just as important. A particularly frequent theme is the self-reflection of the medium itself and the question of the possibilities of an (objective) depiction of reality. Such aspects are discussed in art photography by various means, such as breaking with visual habits, exploring the limits of the medium or staging, and manipulating and constructing the works. However, some photographers also focus on pure aesthetics and let their pictures tell stories, evoke emotions, or create a certain atmosphere. Often, the artistic process only truly begins with the click of the shutter. After the photo is taken, it is edited or combined with other techniques, for example, painting, drawing or collages. Digital photography and electronic image processing, in particular, have opened up new possibilities for many photographers.

Black and White Photographs – Strong Expression Without Colours

Black and white photographs have developed into an independent sub-genre within art photography. They have a very special character and represent a unique challenge for the artists. These black-and-white photographs take us back to the origins of photography when photographs could only be captured in monochrome. Without the vibrant range of colours to work with, other aspects take centre stage. Artists can play with contrasts, light, and shadow gains significance, and the viewer's attention is often more focused on the subject. A beautiful black and white picture can, therefore, have a unique atmosphere and individual charm even without colours. You can also buy black and white photographs at ars mundi.

Art and Photography – A Contradiction?

The question of whether photography is art has been the subject of controversial discussions for decades. Many critics questioned where the actual artistic character and creative work of photography resided, as photographers were seen to merely depict the world rather than provide their own interpretive contribution, unlike painters, for instance. In addition, the question initially arose about how an original could be defined in the face of a potentially infinite number of possible prints from a negative or print. Such sceptical positions also prevented a greater presence of art photographs in museums and collections until the middle of the 20th century. Today, these discussions no longer hold. Photography is generally accepted as an artistic medium. Art photography has become a standard feature of exhibition houses, galleries, and auctions worldwide. Photographers such as Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, Andreas Gursky, Barbara Klemm and Anton Corbijn created famous photographs and enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. Looking back, the work of artists such as Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy or Anna and Bernhard Blume is also acknowledged as a pioneering achievement in fine-art photography. Photographic art is also represented in the collections of the world's greatest museums, for example, the MoMA, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, the Museum Folkwang, Essen or the Museum für Fotografie, Berlin. At ars mundi, you can also find an extensive range of photographs and buy selected fine-art photography.