Subject, form, and content comprise the three basic components of a photograph. In general, subject may be thought of as the "what" in a photograph: the topic, focus, or image. The most common subjects of photography include people, arrangements of objects, the natural world, and abstractions. The Subjects of Photography activity series introduces you to each of these subjects and instructs you in composing your own photographs using the key elements of each approach.

Photograph of the front of the Museum with 'Women Artists Activity Series' written across it


Landscape is an enduring subject for photographers that continues to inspire and challenge its viewers. Because  mountains or roadways aren't easily moved for making a photograph, photographers must rely on camera work and composition to bring about the image they have in mind.

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In photography, still life as subject matter lends itself to a range of different photographic styles and genres such as product or directorial photography. Think of creating a still life image as having the opportunity to build the scene in front of your camera exactly as you want it rather than photographing the world as you find it.  

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Most photographs start with a camera pointed at a subject that is realistic and can be objectively identified (landscape, person, still-life, etc.). When a photograph steps outside of these expectations, we often call it abstract or non-objective photography. The photograph, while abstract, may have an intended conceptual subject or it may be a purely aesthetic work.

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