The world of photography is huge, it's so big that it can be broken down into different genres that your imagery can fall into but it also means that have the ability to either fully immerse yourself into a singular type or feel free to flit between several in fact there are so many categories to fall into that this post has had to be split into 2. My previous posts include Part 3 (found here) which denotes formal elements, Part 2 (found here) discuss lighting types and angles and lastly the first segment with Part 1 (found here) looks at the holy trinity of photography (ISO, shutter speed and aperture). This post will breakdown the most recognisable genres and what makes them stand out, what is your favourite type of photography? What attracts you to an image?
Candid // Snapshot Aesthetic
This genre is one of my most beloved, it holds a special in my heart thanks to my 3rd undergrad university degree course whereby this formed the focus of my studies and own work. The images from this category seem (or are made to seem) completely unplanned and instantaneous. it's about observing the subject matter and capturing the natural energy of the situation and people may not be aware of the camera, this category is usually the type to make the audience ask the question 'why?' / 'is this classed as art?' because it can feature the mundane elements of daily life. Often candid imagery makes us look at the small details or more intimate times, it can be applied to lots of situations such as weddings and more diarisitic moments. With more snapshotpictures it's more acceptable to play fast and loose with the creation side of things i.e. blur, out of focus, big grain, lower quality cameras or higher quality. It's looking at the there and then atmosphere, it can be personal .
Notable artists: Nan Goldin // Robert Frank // Lee Friedlander // William Eggleston
A very closely linked genre that intertwines with candid and documentary imagery quite heavily is street photography although it may seem like repetition but this about the looking at what is there within public spaces without out changing the setting. You can play with different angles and shutter speeds but it can be a difficult one to master as there are a lot of moving and static objects to consider without even factoring in people. Street photography in general is ore realistic in terms of editing and
Notable artists: Phillip Abbott // Jamey Hoag // Garry Winogrand // Vivian Maier // Lee Friedlander
Documentary // Photojournalism
Two more photography ideas that have a clear relationship are these strong concepts, with both categories they tell a story and lead the audience into what they should feel. It can capture significant events like the life of a celebrity, time with someone, social and cultural issues. What differs in terms of photojournalism is that it documents a live event with unplanned moments, which are usually serious and can be good propaganda to push certain agendas. Documentary imagery can be planned to give the right atmosphere to an image set.
Notable artists: Martin Parr // Amy Vitale // Steve McCurry // Kitra Cahana // Don McCullin
One of the most prolific and in some ways the most influential of all the genres within photography, is how we capture style, fabric and fashion. Usually this is meant to entice a prospective audience into buying the advertised item, they're often beautifully constructed to showcase in any setting the photographer chooses either in a studio or on location. This can be a hard discipline to master as you have to consider the tiniest of details from a crease, to the model's pose, to how the garment looks against said background and much more. This can make a huge impact on culture, not just from what we wear but also personal style, construction, attitudes to body size and shape - it can have a powerful message so when it doesn't get across the desired effect it can be confusing or detrimental in some cases. They don't have to be clean and precise in creation but the smallest detail can make or break an image. Some photoshoots can take a big team to get the right result including model(s), make up artist, lighting assistant and styling assistant.
Notable artists: Steven Meisel // Ellen Von Unwerth // Guy Bourdin // Horst P Horst // Tim Walker
Is there a specific genre of photography you love or are you an admirer of all?