There’s an art of making images that suggest something beyond what is seen at the first glance. It’s called Conceptual Photography.
The uncanny ability of the human mind to register deeper meanings and hidden suggestions is put to good use in conceptual photography. It is a much-utilised art that is highly used in creative media such as advertisements, awareness campaigns and social media creatives.
It turns the purpose and implementation of photography to something more subliminal. This often works best in giving messages and triggering responses. Photography courses focus on this variant of photography to employ maximum creativity and visualisation of the students.
The backbone of conceptual photography is the idea portrayed in the work. Making the idea obvious in a subtle but smart manner with the materials in the frame needs well-applied vision and a capacity for creative presentation. Photography schools aim at developing these qualities in the students.
The improvement of visual literacy is the basis of enabling budding photographers to become masterful visualizers and conceptual photographers. Let’s look at the works that go behind creating good conceptual photographs.
Planning the Message
Every object or expression has a symbolic aspect that comes handy while developing a concept for art or photography. So, a simple smiling face can suggest different things when the backdrop is changed. A simple image of a ballet dancer with a shadow of wings for her hands suggests freedom.
Using the Obvious to Reveal the Implied
Ordinary objects like leaves, shadows, wires, chess pieces and utensils can be slightly reshaped or placed in a particular manner to make them suggest something not readily apparent. This involves a good amount of perception and ideation. The ingenuity with which a clever portrayal of objects can project a new perspective amazes the onlookers. Works of Chema Madoz are good to watch in this category.
Working on People and Their Portrayal
Conceptual photography has many examples that involve the portrayal of human emotions, actions and conditions presented in the most symbolic ways. The works of Brooke Shaden are among the finest examples to get inspired by in this regard.
Adding impact with Text over Image
It’s true that the picture itself talks much in conceptual photography. But sometimes, the very familiar or freshly created images could be presented with impactful messages in text. Such works are highly useful in giving out clear messages with added impact, thanks to the right choice of pictures and text. The works of Barbara Kruger are noteworthy in this regard.
Deriving value out of visual awareness is one of the lessons students are bound to learn at photography training courses. Conceptual photography is a subject that deals with this aspect.
If you are typically focused on innovative methods of expression in photography, exploring conceptual photography will be a great move. Get on with it and make classic works that are undeniable by its substance and relevance.