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What is a fine art print?

What is a fine art print? this is a question we face often. We are contacted by people who ask for information about purchasing this type of prints, but they are often confused with posters or exhibitions prints. In fact, even among photography enthusiasts, there is still uncertainty about the concept of fine art printing and its definition.

a reflection in a rear view of a man and a woman kissing at the beach
USA. California. 1956 © Elliott Erwitt

Two features of fine art prints

Fine art printing is not an artistic movement. It is neither a genre of photography, such as street photography, still life photography or nature photography.

Fine art prints are artistic objects, destined to the art market and therefore they last over time. To be classified as such, a fine art print needs to meet two conditions:

  • an interesting shot;
  • printing materials should be of the highest quality
Boy running in Jodhpur
Boy in mid-flight, 2007 © Steve McCurry

The first parameter is the creation of the image itself, which leave the photographer full room for creative freedom. When you think of fine art work, you have to move freely between the concept of black and white or color, between realistic or intentionally manipulated images, and between abstractions and conceptualizations. The definition of fine art is not limited to these fields.

Steve McCurry’s fine art photographs, for example, vibrate with color and alterante shots generated by an artistic instinct, capable of seizing the moment, with more laid-back images, always filtered by the author’s eye, by his compositional choices, and by his point of view on reality.

The shooting phase is then followed by a second artistic phase, the so-called selection or editing, in which the photographer chooses only the images that he considers the most interesting, meaningful and consistent with his artistic path.

clown close up
Clownville, The Rest, 2016 © Eolo Perfido

The second parameter is the printing technique used in the creation of the print. It is equally crucial if you think of the infinite range of materials that can be used in order to give different interpretative results to an image. This attention started from the origin of artistic photography, where authors of the early twentieth century attributed substantial importance to the development and printing procedures for the rendering of the final art work.

Today, with digital photography, artists often work with experts, printing professional figures and laboratories, who use complex machinery and become advisor of the author himself.

It is only through a relationship of trust and harmony between the technical operator or printer and the artist that we arrive at the final print, which is the art object, as the author conceived it.

tessuti colorati appesi a legni in acqua
Brown Fortuny, Mantas, Cochinilla & Ccoli Dyed Yarn, Fishing Nets, Wood in Lazzaretto Vecchio, 2019 © Lorenzo Vitturi

Artsy: home for fine art prints

These considerations lead us to advise every potential collector to check not only the beauty of the shot but also the material on which it is reproduced and the printing technique adopted, in addition to the guarantees that each images should be accompanied by, such as a certificate of authenticity and the artistic signature.

The fine art photography market is in great expansion. But the interest it generates is also proportional to the lack of expertise of many impromptu operators who improvise themselves as gallery owners, and the consequent insecurity of potential collectors in search of guarantees that accompany the creation of their own collection.

Processione della Desolata, 2011 © Dario Mitidieri

At the same time, the web has created exciting new global markets. Artsy maintains the value of trust between gallery owner and collector, whilst challenging the global market speed and his great potential. Artsy not only is the largest site in the world for galleries and museums today. It is also a great cultural operator which is able to promote, guide, support and expand different artistic trends. It collects the most important pieces of the highest valued artists, and address them to the million of international collectors who visit its website, whether they have just entered the art market or veterans who know how to operate among galleries and art collections.

At Sudest57 we want our authors to reach out both types of clients. In our gallery you will find the iconic work of masters of photography, such as Steve McCurry or Howard Schatz, as well the work of emerging authors in the fine art sector, as Dario Mitidieri and Joey L.

Discover our gallery on Artsy or contact us for more information about fine art prints.

old man with white beard picking up water from the river in India
Vijay Nund Morning Puja, 2012 © Joey L.