Applied professional photography is easier to evaluate than artistic photography. However, a careful study of lots of good photographs in the artistic history of the medium, in conjunction with the idiosyncrasy of photographic language, leads to the discovery of certain principles (which could either be characterised as rules or presented as advice). In fact, many of these principles could apply equally to all works of art.

The four corners: A photograph is a collection of information cut out of the world by the photographer. The four corners of the photograph which cut through this piece of the world are more important than its centre. The sides which contain the photograph do not just define what was selected for inclusion but also everything that was selected for exclusion. A photograph must give the impression of continuation outside the limits as well as convincing the viewer that its limits have been strictly defined. For this reason, the sides and corners defining the photo are of primary importance and this is why photographers consider the sides of photographs sacred and inviolable.

The dominating element: Photographs are at once brief and fleeting. A sketch rather than a painting. A short story rather than a novel. A sonnet as opposed to an epic poem. Its analysis requires short and multiple readings instead of long term optical studies and analyses. This is why wordiness and confusion are its enemies. From the surface of the photo, one dominating element must stand out, encompassing its content in concentrated form. An element which usually functions as the gateway into the picture.

The photographic event: The capturing of a real event does not give rise to a photograph. Photographs come into existence when the photographer takes as his starting point a real event and constructs a photographic event, which owes its existence to the means of expression of photography. The truth of the actual event no longer has any real interest for the evaluation of the photograph. The photographer uses the apparent truth of the real to present, through the illusion of photography, the world through his eyes. This is why every good picture contains a transformation of reality.

The abstract: All art is a synonym for the abstract. The difficulty of photography lies in its need to lead to the abstract through the nature of a photograph, which is an accurate description. Photographers must meet the challenge and conquer the abstract without betraying the nature of the photograph.

The angle of the shot: The composition, in other words, the form of the image can schematically be restricted to the angle at which the photograph was taken. There are endless possibilities for different angles in a photograph which could come down to ideological or practical options. The photographer must convince viewers that his angle was the only angle possible.

Overstatement: The event in itself has no interest. It only acquires interest when the photographer penetrates it and returns to it, giving it another meaning. In other words, when it is overstated.

Choice: A photograph is a series of very personal choices. Of the theme depicted. Of its light. Of the configuration of the photographic space. The moment in which time was captured. And the preference of one take over another similar to it. These choices must be based on knowledge, cultivation and honesty.

Contrasts: One-dimensional work, either in terms of content or form, is exhausted in the first quick study. However, the interest must be hidden within its contrasts, even in its contradictions. It is these which give rise to a questioning in the viewer and these which provoke their sensations. Contrasts are achieved with findings and solutions offered by photographic language.

The transposition of values: What is important in the image of the real world will not have the same significance, or at least not to the same extent, in the photographic image. The magnification of detail, the highlighting of the insignificant are all the work of the creator. In a photograph one movement, one shadow can transform into substantial content, whereas the same elements in life disappear into the flow of time.

The absolute statement: The power of a photograph lies in the absolute statement it contains. It is an intellectual and aesthetic statement. A complex consisting of the subject portrayed, form and content. If the complex is firmly tied up and justified, even if the photograph does not provoke any emotions in us, it will earn our respect.

Areas without information: Like reality, photographs contain areas and events of interest alongside other areas and events which function as a background filler. Whereas in real life our eyes and minds automatically eliminate these apparently useless fillers, in a photograph everything is weighted with the same measures. Not one square millimetre is less significant than any other. Subject and content of the photograph are whatever is enclosed in its four sides. So areas without information, the completely black or completely white areas, must be a part of photographical description and composition. Otherwise their non justified presence condemns the whole photo and weakens any information.

Allusion: The strength of a photograph cannot lie on an obvious and self-explanatory level, but neither can it hide behind the work, seeking the assistance of scientific or para-scientific deciphering. The substance of all works of art lies in front of our eyes. However, the concealed mystery which moves our sensations comes from the allusions of the creators. These allusions do not answer to a common code of perceptions but to a personal form of artistic language. Understanding this artistic language does not just come with knowledge, but also with readiness, sensitivity and disposition.

Honesty: Photographs are the product of a subtle contract between the creator and the viewer, according to which all parties recognise and accept both its description and its illusion. A photograph contains falsity from the moment that it owes its existence to the personal choices of the photographer. However, what the photographer owes to the viewer and to photography as a medium is the honesty of his intentions and choices. From the moment the latter cease to come from his personal relationship with the real world and photography and are directed by other desires, such as the need for charm, happiness, recognition, success of other (amiable or trivial) objectives, then the lack of honesty removes any slightest interest the work may have had and renders it somewhat suspect.

References: Anything presented in a photograph does not in a strict sense even consist of indicative evidence. It constitutes motives and opportunities for personal accounts and metaphors in which both photographer and viewer unconsciously take refuge. However, these are references and metaphors which follow indirect and abstract courses.

The dangers of failure: Photographers must flirt with failure. Walk along the edge of the cliff. If he creates from safe ground, in the best of cases he will at best give us a worthy and tedious piece of work. If he creates from a position where he runs the risk of encountering artistic failure, he might produce an overcharged piece of work. The difference between a good and an indifferent photograph lies in the degree of danger it entails.

Fixations: The only new element in art is the artist. And the only original element of each creator is his fixations. Photographers are collectors. They collect their fixations. And in photography fixations are related both to the real world and the world subject to photography. Which is why the photographer himself uncovers them through his work. For us to show interest in the personal world suggested by the photographer, it must reflect the tension and emotional load only his fixations can bring.