Photographic Intentions

Photographs tend towards three "aesthetic intentions" - Realism, Formalism, or Expressionism.

These should not be confused with art movements of the same name.

Photo intentions triangle





The question is whether Realism is ever possible. Does not the photograph always alter perception? Is it not always framed? Surely the photographer is faced with choices and a viewpoint makes decisions that interpet the scene. On the other hand Form must take into account the realities of the scene - objects cannot be replaced as the painter might. The medium also is restrictive. Expressionism in painting (meant in this photographic sense) is also limited by the form and by the fact that a photograph is taken. Therefore all photographs are tendencies towards one or two of these and all photographs should contain elements of all three to some extent or other.

Reference: Wright, T. (1999), The Photography Handbook, Media Practice handbooks series, Routledge, 36-50.