I would like to take the opportunity to address a few things, or terms, that I see used way too freely in the photography community. The terms are “fine art” and “heirloom.”
Some creatives get way too wrapped up in trying to be unique or trying to stand out that they make far-reaching statements that have no basis in truth. In turn, clients who don’t know the difference are misled and oftentimes dissatisfied with the results they paid for. Ultimately, everyone in the photography industry gets a bad rap. Just because someone says that something is fine art or that it’s an heirloom doesn’t make it so.
Words Photographers Use Too Much: Fine Art & Heirloom
creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content.
“the convergence of popular culture and fine art”
an activity requiring great skill or accomplishment.
I think the word that should be used in many of these instances is “art”—only art. Not only is art subjective, but I’m pretty convinced even my eight-month-old grandson could make art. Not every creative on the planet has the skillset to make fine art.
Even I, someone who has been shooting weddings and portraits since 2010 and who has received instruction from some of the greatest wedding and portrait photographers in the world, do not consider myself a fine art photographer. Sure, on occasion my stars and planets line up and I happen to get everything nearly perfect: posing, emotion, composition, light, and then spend upwards of two, three, or four hours post-processing that single image… I might consider that one solitary capture from the entire session a fine art portrait… but I would never classify myself as a fine art wedding photographer. It takes incredible skill and to self-anoint myself with such a letter-perfect title is insulting to all the legitimate, bona fide fine art photographers.
a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.
“the violin was a family heirloom”
The album your photographer ordered today by noon that will be delivered to their doorstep tomorrow by noon will not be an heirloom.
Album pages made on a press printing machine will not become an heirloom.
Album images that will start to fade and discolor within a year will not become an heirloom.
The album which has pages enhanced with optical brightening agents (OBAs—like the kind used in newspapers) will not be an heirloom.
An album which is glued together and in a matter of a year or two will leak out and glue multiple pages together will not be an heirloom.
The album maker who holds no patents or doesn’t use any proprietary technology to handcraft your album is not making an heirloom album.
Yes, I know your albums are precious to you because they hold some very dear memories in them. But unless it is actually an heirloom album, it will not be around for your future generations. Sad truth.
For comparison purposes, the albums I print for my couples have an image permanence rating of 300+ years (and a limited lifetime guarantee). If you want to know more about heirloom albums, click here.
The next time you hear “fine art” and “heirloom,” let that be a trigger for you to do a little digging and research. Don’t be duped into buying something or spending more just because you hear these words.
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I am San Antonio’s most unique wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
I am a full-time, internationally-awarded and WPPI-C certified professional wedding photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I offer a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of!
The post, Words Photographers Use Too Much: Fine Art & Heirloom, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.