Conceptual photography

Conceptual art emerged at the end of the sixties, bringing a new meaning to photography that transcends its use for portraiture, landscapes and snapshots, thus the  term Conceptual Photography derives from Conceptual Art movement. Conceptual photography does not reproduce the beauty of the world around us. It therefore stands in opposition to art photography and Fine Art. 


Conceptual photography refers to the intellectual reflection on what has been seen. One of the main features of conceptual photography is the fact that artists design the scenes and prepare them meticulously to accentuate their messages.This sometimes involves including impossible or exaggerated components or manipulating the piece with digital editing for high impact.The exploration of ideas and human experience is at the heart of conceptual photography. Despite its lengthy history—arising from the mind-centered works of artists such as Marcel Duchamp—conceptual art and photography have never been defined as official movements, but rather as creative methodologies.

Here a number of artists and critics express their thoughts and ideas about conceptual photography. Interviewees include the writers Sean O'Hagan, John Roberts and Lucy Soutter and the artists John Hilliard, Suzanne Mooney and Broomberg & Chanarin.

Examples of Modern Conceptual Photography


Mark Harless

Mark Harless also known as Bleeblu is a portrait photographer who spent his childhood days in the Philippines on an island called Kwajalein surrounded by pure nature and everlasting sunsets. Now, his work focuses on people, their bodies and expressions. If you ask him about his creative process, he will tell you that everything starts with a vision and the rest is just pure art, especially when he captures the true story behind a person.

Amy Haselhurst

No one quite shows symbolic moments of both power and sensitivity like Amy Haselhurst. When it comes to conceptual photography, she focuses on composing images that explore the interior landscapes of the human mind. This one—depicting a shadowy figure emerging from the steam—invokes a cathartic, double-sense of apocalyptic dread and the euphoria of survival. The fact that we can’t see her face makes her surreal presence evermore interpretable.

Kavan "The Kid" Cardoza 


Kavan "The Kid" Cardoza began his career shooting low budget music videos for a variety of artists. His abstract eye quickly captured the attention of several major labels. Kavan's ability to deliver intense and powerful imagery stems from his background in photography. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz, Vogue, Dark Beauty Magazine and many others.



Alex Stoddard’s growing collection of unique and narrative-rich images will seize your imagination. He knows how to seamlessly blend reality into dark fantasy; among his gallery, pale sea-witches haunt rocky shores, nude figures peer from shadowy forests, and a young man (modeled by Stoddard himself) drinks from a fountain of blood. If you’re interested in learning more about conceptual photography, Stoddard’s world is a great place to explore.

Text by Lisa Lukianova @llukianova_

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