10 Easy Steps To Advanced Photography Skills

5. Admire Impressionism

I spoke earlier about the Salon of Paris and what happened during the Impressionist movement. While the process and examples of what happens when artists start cooperating and competing is interesting from a social-group evolutionary perspective, this section is more about the art itself.

Early critics of the art form found it crude, sloppy and unconventional, to the point that they felt it didn’t even deserve to be placed alongside the classic masters. But the public was awestruck by the new art form. It doesn’t take a critic to know good art, but it does take a careful and discerning eye.

Consider the colors and styles of Degas, Cézanne, Monet and Renoir. There is not a single detail about any well-known Impressionist painting that is the slightest bit “realistic.” But yet, the rough shapes and colors still make sense. Something about it just feels right. What is that something?

An icy lake at sunrise, fed from the seasonal melt at Glacier National Park; a panorama of 90 shots.

An icy lake at sunrise, fed from the seasonal melt at Glacier National Park; a panorama of 90 shots.

To me, what feels right about Impressionism is what we discussed above. TheseImpressionist images go deep into viewers’ brains and evoke memories of shared scenes and events. The memory is in fact an Impressionist playground of fleeting colors, shapes and edges. A face here, a blur there, a hint of something almost there, but not quite.

Look at Monet’s work. Think about how the yellows of a sun in the distance is the same yellow as an up-close flower. But something about the colors makes the sun feel brighter than the flower. How does he do that? Can you get closer to achieving this with your photography?

As you look at Impressionist paintings, juxtapose them with your own photography. If you want to evoke the same sort of feelings, then consider how it was done without resorting to realism.

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