Photographic Art

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攝影藝術

Context and Introduction

In the end of the 1980s, Taiwan experienced a rapid change in the society, which laid perfect groundwork for the 1990s to establish a multicultural civil society with progress in democracy. Although it has been 25 years since the lifting of Martial Law in 1987, its 38-year history still fundamentally influences the island’s economy and politics. There used to be some contemporary art exhibitions covering the post-martial law Taiwan, but none of them has ever discussed how Taiwan’s photographic arts after the 1990s has developed with the social changes in its unique way. Nowadays, how people think of photography is totally different from what it used to be throughout its history. It is considered to be an artistic expression which should reveal the truth of the society with sensitivity.

Since the 1990s, the development of Taiwan’s photographic arts has followed the trend of contemporary art in terms of form and content. Art and creativity were to serve the needs of the society.

Therefore, the photographic arts in Taiwan can be categorized as follows:

(1) Post-modernist photography

Photography as a way to deal with artistic concepts, including conceptual projects, performance arts, happenings, art design/strategy, or the re-visualization and reproduction of visual text.

(2) Staged photography

Photography featuring tableau–like single-frame image to crystalize the whole visual narrative.

(3) Photography of “cold reality”

Photography highlighting the absence of visual dynamics and sentiments to maintain certain objective gaze.

(4) Photography of objects/ raison d'etre

Photography adoptimg certain expression to transform the significance of the objects in real life and maintain their materiality to create an on-going discussion between the objects and the subjects/themes.

(5) Photography of private life

Photography revealing family life and intimate relationship. The plain, straightforward, honest, and unique narrations accompanied by strong and subjective emotions are often associated with personal confession or diary.

(6) Photography of the “moment” – the new documentary

Photography has always demonstrated a documentary power to witness the events of humans’ lives. Therefore, the social realism revealed through photography offers it a crucial place in press coverage. However, as digital media becomes the most direct information source, the ordinariness and the instantaneity of photo documentary challenges photographers to search for a “new documentary” through artistic expression and documentation.

(7) Photography of substance and material

As the imaging technology improves, how a photograph is processed and represented has to depend on the equipment more and more. Therefore, photographers now are more inclined to make their own decision in every step they take. It brings more attention to the substantiality and the materiality of photographic arts and makes its own response to the rapidly changing image communication.


The Outline of the Database

In the initial stage, the database will select 50 photographers who have been active since the 1990s from the seven genres mentioned above, including “post-modernist photography,” “staged photography,” “photography of ‘cold reality’,” “photography of objects/ raison d'etre,” “photography of private life,” “photography of the ‘moment’ – the new documentary,” and “photography of substance and material.” It will categorize the selected works based on the subjects and make a list of keywords. For most of the artists, they have an over-twenty-year artistic career and their works can never be limited to one genre. Meanwhile some of the works are the photographs of art events. Therefore, the construction of the database should be divided into works of photographers and art events. In the first stage, the database will select 50 photographers and the full documentation of 4 photographed art events as the primary examples. It will provide a careful discussion for each work as well as categorization, allowing users to do keywords searches for information about artists and artworks. On the other hands, since the database includes both digital photos and silk salt, it is also necessary to provide related information and keywords of the materials and the techniques.

Artist List

See also

Fine-art photography

Fine art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as photographer. Fine art photography stands in contrast to representational photography, such as photojournalism, which provides a documentary visual account of specific subjects and events, literally re-presenting objective reality rather than the subjective intent of the photographer; and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products or services.

1.1 "Art photography": "Photography that is done as a fine art -- that is, done to express the artist's perceptions and emotions and to share them with others". McDarrah, Gloria S., et al. The photography encyclopedia. New York: Schirmer, 1999. ISBN 0-02-865025-5

1.2 "Fine art photography": "A picture that is produced for sale or display rather than one that is produced in response to a commercial commission". Hope, Terry. Fine art photography: creating beautiful images for sale and display. Mies, Switzerland: RotoVision, 2003. ISBN 2-88046-724-1

1.3 "Fine art photography": "The production of images to fulfill the creative vision of a photographer. ... Synonymous with art photography". Lynch-Johnt, Barbara, and Michelle Perkins. Illustrated dictionary of photography: the professional's guide to terms and techniques. Buffalo, NY: Amherst Media, 2008. ISBN 978-1-58428-222-8

1.4 "Art photography": A definition "is elusive," but "when photographers refer to it, they have in mind the photographs seen in magazines such as American Photo, Popular Photography, and Print, and in salons and exhibitions. Art (or artful) photography is salable." Engh, Rohn. Sell & re-sell your photos, 5th ed. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 2003. ISBN 1-58297-176-5

1.5 "Artistic photography": "A frequently used but somewhat vague term. The idea underlying it is that the producer of a given picture has aimed at something more than a merely realistic rendering of the subject, and has attempted to convey a personal impression". Jones, Bernard E. Cassell's cyclopedia of photography. New York: Arno, 1973. ISBN 0-405-04922-6

1.6 "Fine art photography": Also called "decor photography," "photo decor," or "wall decor," this "involves selling large photos... that can be used as wall art". Engh, Rohn. Sell & re-sell your photos, 5th ed. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 2003. ISBN 1-58297-176-5

1.7 In 1961, Dr S.D.Jouhar founded the Photographic Fine Art Association, and he was its Chairman. Their definition of Fine Art was “Creating images that evoke emotion by a photographic process in which one's mind and imagination are freely but competently exercised.” The Royal Photographic Society Journal, Volume 104, No. 10 , Page 261

1.8 Two studies by Christopherson in 1974 defined "fine art photographers" as "those persons who create and distribute photographs specifically as 'art.'" Christopherson, Richard W. Making Art With Machines: Photography's Institutional Inadequacies. Urban Life and Culture, Vol. 3, No. 1, April 1974, pages 3-34. Christopherson, Richard W. From Folk Art To Fine Art: A Transformation in the Meaning of Photographic Work. Urban Life and Culture, Vol. 3, No. 2, July 1974, pages 123-157.

1.9 A 1986 ethnographic and historical study by Schwartz did not directly define "fine art photography" but did compare it with "camera club photography". It found that fine art photography "is tied to other media" such as painting; "responds to its own history and traditions" (as opposed to "aspir[ing] to the same achievements made by their predecessors"); "has its own vocabulary"; "conveys ideas" (e.g., "concern with form supersedes concern with subject matter"); "is innovative"; "is personal"; "is a lifestyle"; and "participates in the world of commerce." Schwartz, Dona. Camera clubs and fine art photography: the social construction of an elite code. Originally published in Urban Life, vol. 15, no. 2 (July 1986), pp.165-195.

1.10 The Library of Congress Subject Headings use "art photography" as "photography of art," and "artistic photography" (i.e., "Photography, artistic") as "photography as a fine art, including aesthetic theory". Library of Congress. Authority headings search. Retrieved August 6, 2008.

1.11 The Art & Architecture Thesaurus states that "fine art photography" (preferred term) or "art photography" or "artistic photography" is "the movement in England and the United States, from around 1890 into the early 20th century, which promoted various aesthetic approaches. Historically, has sometimes been applied to any photography whose intention is aesthetic, as distinguished from scientific, commercial, or journalistic; for this meaning, use 'photography'". Getty Research Institute. Art photography. Art & Architecture Thesaurus Online. Retrieved August 6, 2008.

1.12 Definitions of "fine art photography" on photographers' static Web pages vary from "the subset of fine art that is created with a camera"(Beck, Stephen G. What Is Fine Art Photography? Retrieved August 6, 2008).to "limited-reproduction photography, using materials and techniques that will outlive the artist".(Steinman, Jan. Bytesmiths Editions Newsletter December 2000. Retrieved August 6, 2008.)


  • Pictorialism
  • Snapshot aesthetic
  • Full-spectrum photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Social documentary photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Straight photography
  • Group f/64 f/64
  • Conceptual photography
  • Photoconceptualists
  • Conservation photography
  • Photomontage
  • Composograph
  • Photographic mosaic
  • Street photography


Traditional Chinese version

攝影藝術