The principal and underlying criteria that distinguishes fine art photography from other fields in photography is that fine art photography is not about digitally recording a subject. Using a camera to document what exactly appears in front of the photographer usually falls in the category of photo-journalism and is frequently found in publications that feature purist images taken with a camera to record the scene as it exactly existed at a precise moment in time.
Fine art photography, on the other hand, is first and foremost about the artist. It is not about capturing what the camera sees; it is about capturing what the artist sees. In fine art photography, therefore, the artist uses the camera as one more tool to create a work of art. The camera is used to make an art piece that reveals the vision of the artist and makes a statement of that vision rather than documenting the subject before the lens.