What is Conceptual Photography?

Conceptual Photography has been around since the beginning of photography.  It takes a deliberate approach to every step in the process of creating an image, comprising the choice of and arrangement of subject matter, the photographic methods used to make the image, the processing and presentation of the final work.  All these decisions begin with the initial concept: The “why” you are taking the photograph in the first place. The “what” you are wanting to express.

What does a conceptual photograph look like? Some photography genres such as Landscape are easy to identify. However Conceptual Photography differs from presenting a beautifully documented scene in that the image making process begins with a concept.  Essentially if you are using your image to illustrate a specific idea, it is conceptual.  Examples of conceptual photography in its earliest form is Hippolyte Bayard’s protest against his treatment by the French Government , his Self Portrait as a Drowned Man from 1840.  More modern artists are Cindy Sherman, Andres Serrano, Petrina Hicks and Patricia Piccinini. 

Any internet search will bring up numerous examples of conceptual photography and its many forms: abstract, composite, installations, etc.  While these approaches are varied, they all begin with the idea.   What is the idea the photographer is trying to express?  Has it been successfully communicated?  Can the viewer visualise the concept?

Objectives of the Conceptual Photography Group

The monthly meetings are structured to provide members the opportunity to:

  • Analyse their own work and discover their own areas of interest
  • Develop their own conceptual photography projects
  • Discuss ideas and receive feedback on their projects
  • Get guidance on writing artist statements to support personal projects
  • Create work suitable to submitting into conceptual photography prizes such as the Bowness Photography Prize, CCP Salon, APS Conceptual Photography prize and other contemporary exhibitions.

Meetings

The Conceptual Photography Group will meet on the third Wednesday of each month from February to November 2020 at 7.30pm, coupled with weekend gallery visits and group photography sessions. 

Keep informed about upcoming meetings

The Conceptual Photography Group sends out a monthly email to advise members of what will be discussed at upcoming meetings. You can check whether you are registered to receive these emails by logging into the website. Under the “Members” tab, select “My Profile”. Scroll down past your contact information to “Groups” and make sure there is a tick in the box next to Conceptual Photography Group. Click on “Save” before exiting the page.