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What defines a photograph as being conceptual?

by Yvette Depaepe

Good photography is more than just taking pictures with a  good camera. As with other forms of art, well-executed photography always strives to convey an idea or message in one way or another – a good example of this is conceptual photography.

The term Conceptual Photography derives from conceptual Art, a movement of the late 1960s. Today the term is used to describe either a methodology or a genre.

Conceptual photography is basically the art of creating photographs that illustrate ideas. Be it an illustration of a story, a dramatic moment or even just some simple things in life that would bring a smile to your face. A good conceptual image should never leave you indifferent.

It means the photographer is trying to write a story in your head with a single image. Often the message is conveyed in a very abstract way using random objects and props. Although the image may be shot to tell one story, it can very easily be interpreted many different ways by each person who sees it.

With software such as Adobe Photoshop, publicly available all over the world, more and more photographers have been willing to give conceptual photography a go as photo manipulation software has advanced.

Conceptual photography is also known to be one of the most creative genres of photography. Partly because it is harder as compared to other genres, but mostly because it takes a lot of time and patience to get that perfect conceptual shot. 

It appears that 1x has outstanding and talented conceptual photographers among it's members. Enjoy this compilation of outstanding conceptual work and get inspired. Who knows, you may want to give it a go too !!!



"Natus In Aeternum" by Michael Bilotta



"Ecological Freedom" by Ben Goossens



"Look" by Tommy Ingberg



"Byty" by Arkadiusz Makowski



"The body Mask" by DdiArte





"Front the ashes to ashes" by Eldad Pnini



"The Age of steam" by Ian Munro



"Music" by Damiano Serra



"Keep a promise" by Radovan Skohel



"Homesick" by Olga Mest



"Alternative for stress" by Yvette Depaepe



"Voodoo" by Zokyzoker



"Time Lost" by Tom Cornish



"Treatment" by Matej Pelhan



"Who am I" by Victoria Ivanova



"Immersed in a dream" by Stanislav Hricko



"Mother Love" by Christophe Kiciak



"Hesitation" by Ondrej Cechvala



"Touch of Fear" by Michal Zahornacky



"Sketch your dreams" by Sebastien DEL GROSSO 



"The never solved enigma" by Piet Flour



"Magic of the Season" by Kiyo Murakami



"Lend me a hand" by Anna Winér


Thank you for selection!
My pleasure, Damiano!
I always have problems in explaining people what "exactly" conceptual photography is. This article will help me a lot, as well as the beautiful selection of examples. Thx!
Thanks Tom ... This little study about conceptual photography was very enriching for me too. It is not easy to explain, indeed.
Very good article, Yvette. Thank you.
Many thanks, Matej ;-) It was a pleasure to go through so many good conceptual photos (too many) on 1x to document this short article.
Wow. Nothing else but a huge Thanks for the selection. I'm honoured and humbled at the same time to be featured among all these fantastic works. It's like my personal 'faves' list come true. Love all the the artists featured, big time. On the objective note, a great article. Haven't entered the site in a while and still have to read the previous articles, specially the one about Michael, whose work I greatly admire. This site is a pleasure, always full of good surprises. Have a great weekend everyone!
Thank you so much for this gorgeous comment, Olga. Every artist featured here will be delighted and I'm too. Cheers, Yvette
An excellent article Yvette, and a very good choice of images to emphasize it. Thank you for sharing with us!
Thanks for your appreciation, Greetje!
Excellent choices!
Thanks, Mike!
Wonderful article and choice Yvette:-) Conceptional photography exist since long and will become more important in the future IMO
Thank you, Ben! I think you're right. Since everybody has many more facilities to take pictures compared to the analogue era, conceptual and creatively edited photography will make the difference.
Correct and good writing. I hope you're thinking of reference and photographers for their work. And you my dear I thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Eldad.
Very Foarte frumoase fotografii!!!
Thank you, my friend!
wonderful choice and article Yvette
Thanks a lot, Piet!
Grazie, Massimo!
Splendid selection !!
Thanks, Carla ;-)