What goes into a fine art photograph?

What goes into a fine art photograph?

Fine art photographer Keith Dotson demonstrates the full backstory of one of his prints

Photographer Keith Dotson holds a new print of his image of an old Texas longhorn.
Photographer Keith Dotson holds a new print of his image of an old Texas longhorn.

History of the photograph

About the scene

This photograph was shot in north Texas in 2007. It shows an elderly Texas longhorn standing in a field of famous Texas Bluebonnet flowers — an iconic Texas scene. I had just picked-up my kids up from their mother for a Dad’s visitation weekend and we were driving back to the Austin area where I lived at the time, when the opportunity presented itself — a happy discovery. There were two images that resulted from that roadside photo session, and they’re both shown below.

Two Views of a Texas Longhorn in a Field of Bluebonnets by Keith Dotson
Two Views of a Texas Longhorn in a Field of Bluebonnets by Keith Dotson

Protection against loss or deletion

In the 12 years since I shot it, it’s been archived reduntantly on multiple hard drives and now also on the cloud. It’s important to always keep multiple backups or images can easily become lost to posterity.

Licensed to Fathead for 8 years

The image wasn’t originally a square crop, but in 2011, it was licensed by Fathead for a new line of fine art prints they were planning to offer online. Fathead wanted square images, and after seeing the crop, I liked it. Fathead offered this image online for 8 years and it was quite successful.

TV appearances

The old longhorn was also licensed to appear on the now-defunct TV show Gossip Girl (2007-2012). Both of the longhorn photographs were selected by the show’s set designer to appear together as wall art decor in a restaurant scene.

About this print

Now that we’ve discussed the history of the image, let’s discuss the physical 2019 print, which you can see me holding with cotton gloves above. By the way, those gloves are not to give the appearance of being precious — they’re to prevent the oils from my fingers from staining the paper.

The paper is made of 100-percent cotton. It’s designed to last a lifetime and way beyond. It was manufactured at a mill in Germany that’s been making artist’s papers since 1584. That’s 435 years!

The inks are pigment-based, the most modern formulation. They’ve been lab-tested and results indicate they will last up to 400 years before any noticeable signs of fading appear, with proper framing and display conditions of course.

Together, this paper and ink combination make a legacy print that can be proudly displayed, and passed along to your children and even their children, and so on.

I don’t know the fate of the elderly longhorn, but after 12 years I doubt he still roams that north Texas pasture. But thanks to the miracle of photography and archival techniques, his image can last for generations — or even centuries.

Lasso your own Texas longhorn photographic print

The print that I’m holding with gloved hands above is only $64 with free shipping in the US. Prices go up for larger sizes. Buy a print here.

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to visit me on FacebookGoogle+ or Pinterest, or on my website at

~ Keith

Leave a Reply