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Art photography matrix

6 August 2003

updated slightly on August 08, 2003

Spider diagram of art photography genres

The messy and incongruous sometimes get this unhealthy desire to systematize. Here is a sketch for a spiderweb diagram to classify all art photography. Closest to the centre means nil, farthest outward means yes, attribute applies strongly. So you end up with different shapes for different artists and can spot similarities. But I don't want to classify anything, so why bother? At least some explanations:

  1. composed: the 'moment juste'; the 'good', balanced composition, foreground, background - all the silly rules in the books for the amateurs
  2. story: each image serving some narration or offering some proof (journalism), illustrating - photographic style just a matter of fashion
  3. docu: street / candid photography - capture it: the anecdotal, revealing, poingant, funny, cruel, touching, etc
  4. random: shoot anywhere - chance shots, toddlers taking photos
  5. concept: every building on ... / just drivers waiting at traffic lights / just faces in airplane windows / 1 sq metre of pavement on each of 365 days / one daily photo from point x pointing northwards at 10:21 AM etc.
  6. critique: re-photograph / linguistic context / metaphotography / art history references and nods, etc
  7. directed: people in funny places / carefully choreographed situations / inverted, contorted, upsidedown, fisheye, under water, covered with chocolate, displaying certain gestures, posing as fauns, in drag, head upside down, etc.

abstract is probably missing (if not more) so I would need to update the diagram


Here is another way of slicing the cake, trying to cover all of photography:map of photography's genres indoors/outdoors

And here is another more recent attempt to distinguish between a few Fields of photographic practice

updated slightly on August 08, 2003

Last update: 28 July 2004 | Impressum—Imprint