Last month I wrote a post looking at some of the main genres of photography and what makes them unique which you can find here, as there are so many it would have turned into an essay so this is the 2nd half of that post. Some of my previous posts in the 'Basics' series includes 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?
A genre that relies heavily on details, styling and perfection, in some respects very similar to fashion as it wants you to be tempted to buy, cook or eat, in the last decade there has been a change in aesthetics and how the imagery is constructed and this in itself has so many styles to play with. It can be used across many media such as magazines, blogs, cooking books but high quality is an essential as this type of photography put a real focus on texture, colour and shape. Although in some cases the tips and tricks to to make the food appear extra yummy can be less appealing, here are some of my favourites:
- Bubbles in fizzy drinks can be exaggerated with Alka Seltzer
- Ice cream can be replicated with mashed potato, lard, powered sugar & food colouring
- Instead of milk you can use PVA glue so that things don't get too soggy
- Cream can be replaced with shaving cream (as it holds better for longer)
- Oil cooking can be used to make meat shiny plus replicated droplets of water, boot polish can be added to darken meat when it's too red
- Deoderant or hairspray can be sprayed on fruit for added freshness
As technology has developed over time the capabilities to capture what we explore have advanced to new heights. Be it flora or fauna creating work from any kind of nature can take a lot of technological know how, patience and consideration; from a faster shutter speed, longer lens and adjusting the camera settings for the constantly changing light can all factor in (and more). It's possible that if you shoot a variety of subject matter your kit will be big and expensive as this can be the biggest genre to work in but the beauty of this is that although the majority of photography is on location it can be set up depending on your needs. For this type of imagery you need to be prepared for any kind of eventuality and with some close friends working in the field they have told some hilarious stories such as dressing up as a panda to bond with them to falling over in cold rivers.
Conceptual / Fine Art Photography
This is a hard one to define as it can cross over into all sorts of categories, with this category it's more about projecting emotion or sending a message or it can be a personal exploration - the audience don't necessarily have to 'get it'. The images can be wacky, highly stylised, abstract or more realistic. A positive to this is that it can have any kind of set up be it studio or location. It can help explore any topic or subject matter and as photography is all about the personal voice this is the perfect genre for letting use play with style and what you want to say to an audience. For some this is the type of photography that could spark the question "what is this?", as often this can break the more 'traditional' aesthetics from other genres but the weird and wonderful can be made as everyone has their own style and way of taking their photo.
Portraiture can encapsulate many of the aspects already discussed as people can feature in a variety of scenarios however this is about focusing on the the actual person and their physical details. This can create an incredibly personal relationship between model and photographer which can extend to the audience depending on the vibe, it can document different races, shapes, genders, sizes and elements of self expression. Some of the most interesting faces aren't those with beautiful flawless skin and features (although they are stunning but are used in a lot of advertising) but those who have texture or something a different can really draw an audience. They can be serious, quirky, on location, flamboyant, simple, studio based, funny, colourful, mellow - theses images can literally use any kind of atmosphere to tempt someone to look. Some artists show something of the person that they're photographing from a hobby to their job others try to subvert what their known for and others play up what makes that person special. 4 of the main approaches include
1. The Constructionist: Heavily stylised for a certain ambiance or message e.g. a happy wedding
2. The Candid Approach: Capturing the model with a less planned strategy, it's informal with more spontanity
3. The Environmental Approach: Could take the image in a more natural setting for the subject, e.g. the office
4. The Creative Approach: This could use digital manipulation or more of a artistic vision
Other Well Known Genres Include:
Aerial // Architectural // Landscape // Night
Do you have a favourite genre of photography?