Historically called the visual arts, Fine Art is made by artists, exhibited in art galleries and museums, and purchased by art-lovers with deep pockets at auctions at major art houses like Sotheby's and Christie's. Fine art takes many formats including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and lithographs, photography and installation art. Starting in the 20th century, due to electronic advances, fine art came to include sound art and digital and video art and is considered to be ephemeral and conceptual in nature.
The definition and meaning of Fine Art are constantly evolving. For example, today many people consider Andy Warhol's silkscreened Brillo Boxes as Art and these pieces by the late artist fetch sales in the double-digit millions. Pushing the envelope even more, Italian artist Piero Manzoni's Merde Artiste (an artist whose works feature cans of his own fecal matter - An ironic reference to the willingness of the art market to buy everything on condition that it is signed.) creates pieces classified as Fine Art.
Decorative Art is also made by artists, but because they are specialized in their craft and need to produce functional art they are widely known as craftsmen and craftswomen. Pieces that fall into the Decorative Art(s) category include a wide range of materials and techniques such as woodworking, metalwork, textiles, and ceramics. Functional objects including candlesticks, furniture, carpets, weavings, pottery, cutlery, and other beautiful but useful objects, are considered part of the Decorative Arts category.
It's worth noting that even the world-renown Metropolitan Museum of Art (home to the most important Old Masters like Rembrandt) has rooms filled with furniture, tapestries, and ancient Grecian urns and bowls.
Fine Art Photography
Known also as "photographic art", "artistic photography" and so on, the term "fine art photography" has no universally agreed-upon meaning or definition; rather, it refers to an imprecise category of photographs, created in accordance with the creative vision of the cameraman. The basic idea behind the genre, is that instead of merely capturing a realistic rendition of the subject, the photographer is aiming to produce a more personal - typically more evocative or atmospheric - impression. One might simplify this, by saying that fine art photography describes any image taken by a camera where the intention is aesthetic (that is, a photo whose value lies primarily in its beauty) rather than scientific (photos with scientific value), commercial (product photos), or journalistic (photos with news or illustrative value). Artistic photos have been used frequently in collage art, e.g. by Dadaists like Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971), Helmut Herzfelde (1891-1968) and Hanna Hoch (1889-1979). Photos may also be incorporated into mixed-media installation art, and assemblage art. Today, photography is exhibited in many of the best galleries of contemporary art around the world.
As mentioned above, my ultimate goal is to create an image that is both artistically inspired and technically excellent. Either one or the other is not enough. I strive to capture each photograph “technically correct” in camera, focusing on composition, light, and what I felt at the moment of capture. For me, a work of art is primarily the product of a person, not of a machine. For this reason, a “documentary photograph” (a photograph printed straight from the original capture) is unsatisfying: such a print represents the output of my camera, rather than the expression of my emotions and artistic interpretation.
For a more in-depth discussion, please refer to my Artistic Vision page.