The New Fine Art Photography
THE MANIFEST OF (en)VISIONOGRAPHY
Find out more about (en)Visionography in my best selling book "FROM BASICS TO FINE ART" (co-author Joel Tjintjelaar)
Also, you can check my Black and White Photography Tutorials to learn to how to create (en)Visionography - The new black and white fine art photography.
Ode to Black | Black Hope I - Self Black - Processing steps & (en)Visionography Phases in creating the image
Here is where you can find information about how to create (en)Visionography. Here is where this concept was created and developed. From here (en)Visionography was spread out all over the world and in a very short time it became a new way of seeing and creating photography.
- noun -
The process of using reality as a tool for
translating one's inner self and representation
of the world into an art object that can make
WHAT IS (en)VISIONOGRAPHY
(en)Visionography is a new name for photography, or more exactly for fine art photography.
(en)Visionography is an alternative for fine art photography, an evolution of fine art photography, it is the photography we can create in the digital era when we have much more freedom to express our vision because we have many more tools than we had in the film era, and especially a powerful software that can transform any image to suit our vision.
This is what gives to the photographer the freedom that for instance the painter has or any other artist who conceives his work from the beginning and doesn’t rely on a capture of the real world as a photographer does.
By having so many new tools at our disposition in the digital era, we have practically liberated ourselves as photographers and became ARTISTS.
This is why we can move the accent in our work from the subject we are shooting to ourselves, our vision and our life experiences.
In my opinion this is what creates fine art photography, this is what creates art and this is also what creates (en)Visionography.
Fine art photography and photography in general are almost totally different in the digital era from what they were in the time when only the analog cameras existed. The difference is so big that they could be given different names and could be considered two different arts if they were not both dealing with light and image.
(en)Visionography is the photography that is born from inside the artist and not from the subject he is photographing. It is the kind of photography that gives the artist the power to express himself like never before. It is the photography that breaks all the rules of the “correct” or traditional photography and aims to express ideas and feelings in order to create emotion in the viewer.
When you rely on yourself and your experiences to create, then you have much more power to reach other people and for them to relate to your work because what you feel will be contained in the work you create and will be understood at a subconscious level by the one who is looking at your work. It is the same process that takes place in art, just that in this case it is applied to photography.
This is why I’m saying that I use photography as a tool to create (en)Visionography, because photography becomes a tool in the service of creation, and not necessarily an end goal.
When we can transcend the real world, expressed by the object or the scene we are photographing, and we can use it to express our own ideas and feelings, then we realize that we have a freedom that was never possible if we used photography in the traditional way.
In (en)Visionography we do not record a scene, we do not even interpret the scene or subject, but we use a scene or subject to express our vision.
It’s a counterintuitive process and it goes in the opposite direction than traditional photography goes but I believe it is a more natural process for an artist because an artist needs to express his inner world and this is why he creates.
If an artist uses photography to express his vision instead of just showing the world, then this photographer can be called and (en)Visionographer and this is what I consider myself to be.
WHAT CHANGED IN PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE DIGITAL ERA
What changed in photography in the digital era, that makes it so different from the traditional analog period? What made photography transform so dramatically in a couple of decades after functioning more or less by the same rules for almost two centuries?
The main change photography had to undergo when the means changed was the replacement of the base used for capturing the image: instead of a film sensitive to light, the new cameras were equipped with an electronic sensor, still sensitive to light but in a different way and with different results. The second fundamental thing that changed is the tools we use to process the RAW image (the correspondent to film in the digital era) in order to create the final result. In this case we went from using manual methods and chemical solutions to develop and process the film to using electronic means (software) to do the same thing in a totally different way.
These two changes are so important that the process a photograph goes through before it reaches the final image is an entirely different one in the digital era and needs an entirely new way of approach and realization. Therefore a new name would be needed in order to differentiate the two. What the software introduces in photography is a much greater freedom of expression, since now there are practically no limits to how much one can transform an image from the point of view of light and volume shaping. This freedom leads to vision having a much greater role in the process of creation of photographs.
In a way, we can say that vision and software have become more important in the digital era than what we capture in the camera, something I'm experiencing every day in my work.
The most important is that we have much more freedom now than we had with film cameras and with developing the photos in the traditional darkroom. And freedom means vision, means what we think can be more easily put in practice, we can more easily realize the images our imagination creates. That's why now it's more about who we are and what we envision than about what we see. We are slowly becoming like painters, building our frames the way we imagine, not necessarily the way they are in the outside world.
Arc-en-ciel © Julia Anna Gospodarou 2003 - Film photograph
Exuberance of Strings © Julia Anna Gospodarou 2012 - Digital photograph
What Changed in the Digital Era
Above is an example and a comparison between a film photograph taken in 2003 in Paris, when I was still shooting film and a digital image taken in 2012 in Patras and processed with the method of Photography Drawing. In other words, a comparison between creating a photograph based on the light we can capture in the scene, thus being dependent on this light, and creating a photograph by manipulating light and shadows in such a way so to embody our personal vision and not be dependent on what the light in the scene allows us to capture but only on our vision about the scene we see and interpret.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND (en)VISIONOGRAPHY
The two radical changes I am mentioning above totally transformed the way we create photography nowadays, in the digital era, even if not many truly realize it. The process of creating images by using a camera and software and not a camera and film that is developed afterwards, changed photography and transformed its essence. In only a few years photography went from using light as a principal ingredient in creating images to using vision as principal ingredient in doing so. Etymologically, “photography” comes from the Greek “φωτογραφία” which was created from φως (light) + γράφω (write), therefore photography is the way light writes on film creating the image, the way the photographer “writes with light”. But in the digital era, even if the light is still what “writes” on the sensor creating an image, the final image can be so much more than just that, it can be so deeply transformed comparing to the initial image, in a much greater measure than this could be done in the analog era. As a conclusion of that, we can say that:
In the digital era “vision” replaces “light” in writing, or rather in re-writing the image so it reaches a stage where it matches the idea the photographer started with, his VISION. The final image can now get much closer to what the artist ENVISIONS. Therefore (en)Visionography is a more suited name for creating photographs than “photography”.
To come back to Greek, we can now say that (en)Visionography = (en) + Vision + γράφω (write), meaning (en)Visionography is “write with Vision” instead of “write with light”.
THE MEANING OF THE PREFIX “(en)” in (en)VISIONOGRAPHY
What is the role of the “(en)” in front of “Visionography”?
Many asked me what is the role of “(en)” in (en)Visionography and I think this is the best moment to explain it. There is a very subtle difference between “Vision” and “(en)Vision” and the difference in sense has to do with the depth where these two concepts start from. In short “(en)Visioning” was there before “Visioning”, (en)Visioning, thus (en)Visionography goes even deeper inside of us, in our personal interior world, in our personal reality and representation of the world, thus the product of (en)Visioning, the creation that comes from it, is truer to our artistic self and personal reality than something that would come from only “Visioning”. It is subtle but I think, if you see it like this, the difference in nuance is clear.
(en)Visionography goes deeper in ourselves than “Visionography” would go, thus we can say it was there before “Visionography”, and this is explained by the word itself if we look at it. The prefix “en” in English means “within” and what I meant when I added this prefix to “Visionography” (this is how this notion was born when I was trying to find a word to express what I do in photography, which was something different than traditional photography), was to go even deeper in myself to find a way of expressing my personal vision and representation of the world. Thus, when I am (en)Visioning I reach deeper in myself in search for a way of expression and the vision that is born there, the “(en)Vision”, is the essence of my personal artistic self and the source that feeds my personal artistic style, making it unique. Even if I am talking about myself now, because this is a very personal process, I know I speak for many, I speak for all the (en)Visionographers in the world, either they know they are such, or they will find out in the future. I hope the fact that I am writing about this will help others to reach that level of (en)Visioning too and feel the magic of touching their real self.
HOW TO WRITE (en)VISIONOGRAPHY AND WHY
The fact that the prefix “(en)” is so important for the concept of (en)Visionography explains why it is so important how (en)Visionography is written and why it may lose its sense if it is not written in the right way. The parenthesis accentuate the prefix “en” (“within”) and protect it, creating a shell around it, just like art creates a shell around the artist, providing him a separate special world where he can feel secure and create freely, his personal reality, his (en)Vision-world. A place where he can create (en)Visionography. This is why the word “Visionography” is written with capitals, because what is more important for an artist than his vision? Nothing. Which transforms (en)Visionography in a very important word and notion.
The way (en)Visionography is written is a continuation of the above mentioned, it is a visual statement just as much as a linguistic and conceptual one. Just think about DaDa, MoMa and other movements or art institutions that communicate something not only with what their name says but also with what it shows visually. It is happening the same with (en)Visionography.
The way (en)Visionography is written is a declaration, a manifest.
The Manifest of (en)Visionography, as new way of seeing and showing the world through photography.
When you write (en)Visionography do not forget the parenthesis around the prefix “en” if you want to express the true meaning of this word. Yes, language principles combined with visual representations, this is what (en)Visionography means: a new artistic world where nothing is forbidden or impossible, where everything can freely blend together to create our personal reality, the artistic world within us.
Correct way of writing!
Now you know why this is the INCORRECT way of writing!
WHAT IS AN (en)VISIONOGRAPHER
If an artist uses photography to express his vision instead of just showing the world, as it is then this photographer can be called an (en)Visionographer and this is what I consider myself to be.
The photographer creating in this manner, creating (en)Visionography and not only photography becomes an (en)Visionographer and he is less and less dependent on the camera or on the reality he sees to create his images, his art. Eventually he only depends in creating his (en)Visionography on the representation he gives to the scene in front of him and is only guided by his imagination and creative skills.
I am an (en)Visionographer myself and I find that this term is much more suited for what I do than photographer because it describes much more accurately the process I am going through when I am creating, the principles of what I do and the way I am using the tools I have at my disposition when transforming my vision into image.
The result of the process I and other (en)Visionographers are going through when creating, the result of (en)Visionography, is a fusion of reality and imagination, where the image starts by being a white board where I design and build my photograph by using from reality only those elements that help me convey my vision and the idea I want to present in the final image.
HOW TO CREATE (en)VISIONOGRAPHY
(en)Visionography is a name I gave to what I and other fine artists do, which is not photography in the traditional sense of the word, it is a name that describes the whole process I go through when creating. It is the way I get from nothing to something meaningful, to something that will express me as a person and artist and present my vision about the world. It is the way I take things from the world and use them as base for my creations, the way I transform them according to how they make me feel and give them back to the world in a different and unique form, in the form of my vision.
This process usually starts with a thought, an idea, an impression or a feeling and this triggers every step that I will make till transforming it into an image that (re)presents it. The thought leads to finding an image that is suited to my vision and capturing it in the camera, but from then to the final result the image still has to go through different phases of transformation to finally match my inner world, to become a visual representation of it.
This process is more a need than a conscious decision and leads me to creating the things I create. Making art releases my emotional and intellectual tensions and gives an answer to my existentialist quests.
This is why I do it.
My opinion is that art is a selfish act, we do not do it for anyone else than ourselves, we do not try to please anyone else than ourselves when doing it.
The process I go through is similar to other visual artists working in the field of photography, therefore I will generalize by saying that:
(en)Visionography is the way one can transform his vision into image by using a camera and a processing software.
It is not only photography, it is much more. It is not only photography because it is not only based on a camera and a sensitive base for capturing the image, but also and even more on a means of transforming the image that was captured in the camera so it becomes something else, namely the idea from which the artist started.
HOW I CREATE MY (en)VISIONOGRAPHY
In essence, I do not take anything for granted: colour, shape, volumes, light ...reality ...they are all there to serve me as tools to create something new, they are just a base, just an outline, a sketch on which I will draw my own world. The colour is there to be transformed in black, white and the gray shades that unite them, the shapes and volumes are there to be transformed and adapted to my idea of perfection and the light is there to draw my idea on paper. I do use light in (en)Visionography, just like in the case of photography, but I do not depend on the light as in the case of traditional photography, I create my own light instead and use it exactly where and how I need it in order for the image I am creating to resemble not the reality I see in front of me and that I captured in the camera, but to resemble myself and how I feel about this reality.
The process I go through in my mental artistic creation and then in processing my images are the ones you can see above in the “before/after & in-between” processing steps, in the (en)Visionography Phases of creating my image :
Ode to Black | Black Hope I - Self Black
- leading image of the series ODE TO BLACK | BLACK HOPE that has won multiple international awards at IPA & PX3 2013, ND Awards 2014 -
1st, 2nd, 3rd Prize & many other distinctions -