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 fundamental changes in science, business, society - and in art. The artistic avant-garde in many countries discovered photography as a means of expression at the beginning of the 20th century. In just a few decades, photography develops into a central discipline of the fine arts. Various genres emerged in 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 fine-art photography in colour.

Fine-Art Photography – Much More Than Images of Reality

The art of photography differs in many ways from other forms of photography. Here, the documentary aspect or the depiction of reality is not in the focus like it is with journalistic photographic work, for example. Instead, fine-art photography creates its own reality and offers new and individual perspectives on the motifs. However, the statements and messages associated with fine-art photography are just as important. A particularly frequent theme is the self-reflection of the medium and the question of the possibilities of an (objective) depiction of reality. Such aspects are discussed in fine-art photography by various means, for example, by 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, create emotions, or create a certain atmosphere. In fine-art photography, the artistic process often begins when the shutter release is pressed. 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 fine-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. Since all possibilities of working with the luminosity and variety of colours are gone, other aspects come into focus here. One can play with contrasts, light and shadow gain in importance, and above all, the viewer's attention is drawn more strongly to 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 asked what the actual character of the work and the creative work was in photography because photographers only depicted the world and did not produce their own interpretations as, for example, painters did. 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 printouts. 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 apply. Photography is generally accepted as an artistic medium. Fine-art photography is 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.