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Fine Art Flower Photography by Tony Sweet


San Pedro Garza GarcĂ­a, MX
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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter Member
Tue 15-Nov-05 10:54 AM

Tony Sweet was interviewed by Bo Stahlbrandt and their conversation is available at the Nikonians News Blog Podcasts.

This is a repost of the review by Conrad Obregon of Tony's latest book:

Fine Art Flower Photography: Creative Techniques And The Art Of Observation.

"This book made me reconsider some of my fundamental feelings about art and photography. For example it made me consider the distinction between non-representational and abstract art. I realized that non-representational art has no counterpart in the world. Abstract art might have such a counterpart, but it is more concerned with line, form, color and other indicia as such than with the subject itself. I also realized that just because a photograph must start with something in the real world doesn't mean that it can't be abstract and concern itself with indicia rather than the subject.

All of this is by way of saying that "Fine Art Flower Photography" is a book of abstract art that starts with real flowers, but which has as its subject line, form and color. And it is a terrific and inspiring book.

By using a variety of photographic techniques, Sweet is able to divorce line, form and color from their subject and present them in a pure manner that delights the eye. In fact Sweet was so effective in doing this that he transformed my vision of other abstract art and its value.

Sweet accomplishes this task by manipulating depth of field, multiple exposures and camera movement to present us with a view of flowers that we would never see with the unaided eye. And these views are surprisingly striking, evoking deep, non-rational responses in the viewer. I have never believed that aesthetics was simply the province of the beautiful, but these pictures certainly can be used to support such an argument.

I've long had a feeling that manipulating a photograph in the camera in a way that one could not see in a peek through the viewfinder was somehow not real art. Sweet makes it clear though that he starts with a visualization of his final image and then takes the steps to make that vision come true, which of course is exactly what all the great photographers have done, and which is certainly a process that leads to art.

This book could stand on its own, as a set of beautiful images, but expert photographers will also find valuable lessons here. Sweet's comments are pithy, but for a person who understands the photographic process, they can suggest the technical steps that will allow the photographer to follow in Sweet's footsteps. My question is whether Sweet has set the bar so high that no one can exceed him. But perhaps these same techniques can be applied to other forms of photography to make different statements that are as beautiful.

Although Sweet has used film as his medium, digital photographers will be inspired to apply his same techniques, either in camera or in post processing.


Conrad Obregon

Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
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