Is there an art to photographing art?




 All images - Sony A7r 55mm f/1.8 lens

These are works by Auguste Rodin, the French sculptor on temporary display in the grounds of a local stately home. The top two are of the Les Bourgeois de Calais, a truly remarkable piece of work that it was a privilege to view. So how did I decide to photograph it?

The first thing to establish was, why am I taking photographs of an artwork? Well firstly for myself. And secondly because there might be some commercial potential for the images, though not that much it has to be said because of copyright and property ownership issues. 

When photographing something like this I always try to ignore the temptation to take some 'arty' approach to the task. For me it's a case of letting the work take prominence. Anything else would be presumptuous. These works have history and reputation and are the creations of a man who has been rarely bettered in his chosen field. So how could some snapshot that I take compete with that?

This is how I approach photographing things like public artworks and indeed I apply it to much of my architectural photography. Too often I see people take a different approach when they try to impose some kind of 'creative vision' onto capturing an image of something that is already creative and artistic. And yes our own visual take on the world is something we should cultivate, but often craftsmanship and technical excellence, with our imagination taking a back seat, is the more appropriate response.

 
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