A few years ago I did a interview for The Candid Frame and the interviewer Ibarionex Perello had made a statement that I found very interesting, and at the same time it was a compliment about my macro work that I was honored by.
Ibarionex Perello said,
“When ever I have viewed macro photography, it always looks like the photographer is just documenting their subjects, and when I view your work, it has an artistic look rather than a documented look”
I have always felt this same feeling when viewing photographer’s work, but never could put in words what I was seeing, until Ibarionex made it clear.
Most macro photographers are documenting subjects.
Documenting subjects is what you see in text books when learning about a subjects, whether it was flowers, plant life, birds, critters, etc. Text book images are not to be artistic, but just to let the viewer know what the subject looks like along with the environment it lives in.
I think most macro photographers are trying to create artistic images when they shoot their subjects, and they may not have thought of the fact that they may be documenting rather than create art.
Take a look at your portfolio of images and be very honest with yourself.
Are you creating artistic images with your subjects or just documenting them.
If you have shot a flower straight on and positioned it in the middle of the frame, then you are pretty much documenting your images. If you take the same flower and view it from some unique angle, or with an interesting depth of field then you have a better chance of creating art.
Here is a Cyclamen flower that has the documented look. Just a simple flower in the middle of the frame.
And the same flower with a little more artistic pose.
Using a shallow depth field gives this Trillium a more artistic feel.