Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Stuarte on June 19, 2009, 12:33:11 PM

Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on June 19, 2009, 12:33:11 PM
Lately I find myself wondering whether I would have spent so much money, time and attention on photography if I could paint to express my vision.  Or putting it another way, if it were possible, would I be willing to trade all the photographic equipment I now own and have ever owned for the ability to paint pictures to a standard comparable to my photographs?

The embarrassing fact is that even at the age of seven my daughter could sketch and paint far better than I could, 40 years her senior.  It's always been a source of frustration for me that while I'm moved and inspired by what my eyes see, my hand can't even begin to express that vision.  

So discovering photography in my mid-20s turned out to be a wondering surprise.  I found that I could produce images that went some way towards satisfying the urge to express my vision - my way of seeing things.  I splashed out on cameras, lenses and darkroom equipment and spent a load of times immersed in it all.  Then along came family.  

Then along came digital.  And I'm now busily exploring the possibilities, and delighting in the even greater range of cameras, lenses, computers, software and output devices.  The investment runs to many thousands of pounds, plus a lot of time learning how to use each of the different bits of kit.  In my local photo group, even those with the simplest of equipment still use more than a moonshot's-worth of processing power to produce their images.



--------

Disclaimer

This musing is intended purely as a reflection on ways of expressing one's vision.

This has nothing to do with the relative merits of photography and painting in creating works of art.

It is not about commercial photography - clearly commercial photographers need to produce images quickly and in large volumes, and be able to process them
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 19, 2009, 12:45:55 PM
Quote from: Stuarte
The embarrassing fact is that even at the age of seven my daughter could sketch and paint far better than I could, 40 years her senior.

Stuarte, Don't let that get you down. If you check out a museum with a display of kids' paintings you'll probably discover that most seven-year-olds can sketch and paint better than most 47-year-olds. The difference is that most kids just draw or paint what they want to draw or paint. They haven't yet learned what's the "right" stuff to paint, and they haven't yet been stunted by learning the rules.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: wolfnowl on June 19, 2009, 12:59:10 PM
Stuarte:  I got into photography originally, at least in large part because I couldn't draw or paint to my own satisfaction.  Thirty-five years later, I don't know that I'd give up photography even if I could paint as you describe.  Photography to me represents a different way of seeing as much as different way of recording what I see.  Painting is additive - one starts with a blank page and adds the scene.  Photography is subtractive - one starts with the scene 'as is', and then through lighting, composition, depth of field, etc. removes those elements that aren't to be included.

Mike.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: dalethorn on June 19, 2009, 01:21:34 PM
My father in law painted brilliantly from 1936 until 1992, but he also owned several cameras and left behind about 10,000 negatives and slides of all sizes.  His first interest was painting, but he saw photography as a good way to record many things - family, paintings, scenes for later perusal, many others.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: bill t. on June 19, 2009, 02:52:44 PM
It would take a thick book to express this properly, but in a few words...

Painting and photography are apples & oranges.  What painting reveals is about arrangements of color and tonality and geometry.  For many artists the subject of the painting is almost irrelevant, what matters is what emerges in the process of creating the canvas.  In the best of paintings what emerges may be stunning and illuminating, but more often than not it's all about technique and pedantry (not that photography is much different).  In the end painting is about the process of transforming a subject into something else that may or may not have anything to do with physical subject.

In my youth I was a natural painter, almost a prodigy.  But when I discovered that photography could capture the world in a literal sense I was hooked.  My visual cortex couldn't get enough of all that imagery.  Photography was electrifying to my hormonally enhanced youthful view of the world, and it looks like I'm still stuck with it minus the hormones.

So I'm too literal to want to paint.  Although many of my viewers have asked me whether my images are paintings or photographs.

But I like to look at good painting, and I admire the tiny percentage of artists who can do it well.  But bottom line...an awful painting and an awful photograph have a lot in common.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: David Sutton on June 19, 2009, 07:27:59 PM
Hi Stuarte. My experience has been different. While I had a darkroom as a teenager, I gave it up when I moved out of home. Still kept photographing with a little Rollei 35, but it was not the same as using an SLR.
Some fifteen years ago, following a series of dreams, I took painting lessons and found I could paint and do it well. While I enjoyed using oils and chalk, the problem arose when I realised I had potential. To cut a long story short, the process of practising and training while also having a full time job as a musician, which also gave me meaning and the opportunity for expression, proved much too stressful and so I gave it up. The coming of digital was an immediate revelation. In the time it took previously to set up an easel and prepare the media, I could have the structure of a photograph finished and be working on the small details of light and texture . If I had half an hour free between students, I could carry on working with it on my laptop. No more packing up because the light was going. No more dust everywhere and using toxic materials like cadmium. I could enjoy being out in the countryside in any weather and then be working on the image later in the comfort and warmth of my home.
I think underpinning much of our work is the need to be creative. Looking at a recent exhibition of painting and photography, the question often came up “why did they bother?” Well, much of the work may not have been very good, but the answer to the question lay in in the artist's heart's desire to be creative and their love of the process of doing it.
Expressing our vision, what we see in our hearts, exercising and nurturing our creativity and skills, these are things close to what it is to be a human being and so will give us much grief because we care about what we are doing. Yes, I have found photography ruinously expensive, but some of the images I have now please me. Deeply.
Best wishes, David
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: kikashi on June 20, 2009, 01:53:04 PM
Quote from: wolfnowl
Stuarte:  I got into photography originally, at least in large part because I couldn't draw or paint to my own satisfaction.  Thirty-five years later, I don't know that I'd give up photography even if I could paint as you describe.  Photography to me represents a different way of seeing as much as different way of recording what I see.  Painting is additive - one starts with a blank page and adds the scene.  Photography is subtractive - one starts with the scene 'as is', and then through lighting, composition, depth of field, etc. removes those elements that aren't to be included.

Mike.
I feel just the same, but then I couldn't put together a recognisable sketch if my life depended on it. I think I'd carry on with photography if I suddenly acquired the ability to paint, but then I vehemently maintain that I'd carry on with my rather taxing, stressful day job (which I love) if I won the lottery.

Who knows?

Jeremy
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Czornyj on June 21, 2009, 05:20:35 AM
Quote from: wolfnowl
Painting is additive - one starts with a blank page and adds the scene.  Photography is subtractive - one starts with the scene 'as is', and then through lighting, composition, depth of field, etc. removes those elements that aren't to be included.

I came to the identical conclusion. As an academy of fine arts student I've been taught to draw, paint and photograph, but apart from similarities, I find them to be completly different methods of artistic expression, "additive" and "substractive" is a perfect description. I think that in early times photography had tried to mimic painting, but after a short time it went it's own way.

On the other way I would encourage everyone to experiment with paints - just for fun and pleasure. It's not as hard as it looks in the beginning, and we can achieve some effects we would never achieve in photography - in oil painting the colours are so clean and vivid, and we have the ability to create three dimensional textures. There's also some primal experience to have contact with paint and leave the trace on the canvas. After my studies I stopped active painting, but I still like to paint something from time to time just to open my painbox, touch, mix the paint and smell the scent of turpentine...
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 21, 2009, 10:32:05 AM
Quote from: Czornyj
I still like to paint something from time to time just to open my painbox, touch, mix the paint and smell the scent of turpentine...



Tell you what, come over to Spain and you can have the distinct pleasure of applying the varnish to all the bleedin´ wooden shutters that looked beautiful when I bought them but have driven me to despair every year since; you will be able to sniff all the turps that you crave. The older I get the larger and more heavy they seem to become.

Seriously, though, you are right: painting is visceral but photography is not.

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 21, 2009, 01:05:38 PM
Quote from: Rob C
Seriously, though, you are right: painting is visceral but photography is not.
Rob C

Rob, I don't agree and neither did HCB. If you can find a copy of The Mind's Eye, you'd probably find the first half of the book a good read. The fact that most people don't understand that photography has to be visceral in order to be good helps to explain why I see so much dreadful photography around.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on June 21, 2009, 05:49:04 PM
Quote from: RSL
Rob, I don't agree and neither did HCB. If you can find a copy of The Mind's Eye, you'd probably find the first half of the book a good read. The fact that most people don't understand that photography has to be visceral in order to be good helps to explain why I see so much dreadful photography around.

I'm intrigued by the use of "visceral" in the two posts above.  "Coming from the gut" is my understanding of the word.  

I think with the best of my photos - those I like the best, at least - they either come from or prompt a quickening of the heart/spirit.  I can relate to a kind of fluttering excitement in and around the solar plexus area when some really right is happening in a conversation or an interaction; we're touching on something true and important.

Feelings more visceral than that - lower down the abdomen - are connected with fear and anxiety in me.  I've even had some health issues in that area.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tom b on June 21, 2009, 09:41:43 PM
Painting and drawing aren't mutually exclusive. For me painting and photography both help me see the world better.

The good thing about the two is that you can photograph during the day and paint at night.

I use my photography as a reference for my paintings. The interesting thing is that selecting photographs for painting isn't obvious. Photographs that look good don't always make good paintings. Painting from simple photos can sometimes be very difficult as you have to introduce fictions to explain things as the images get larger. Painting from complicated photographs can be quite abstract as you have to invent was of representing complex details in a simple way.

As to HCB he was trained as an artist and went back to painting and drawing in his later years.

Cheers,
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2009, 03:57:43 AM
Quote from: Stuarte
Feelings more visceral than that - lower down the abdomen - are connected with fear and anxiety in me.  I've even had some health issues in that area.



This is not the place for discussing sexual hang-ups. This is the place for discussing sexual hang-ups. How lo can you go and remain visceral?

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2009, 04:11:13 AM
Quote from: RSL
Rob, I don't agree and neither did HCB. If you can find a copy of The Mind's Eye, you'd probably find the first half of the book a good read. The fact that most people don't understand that photography has to be visceral in order to be good helps to explain why I see so much dreadful photography around.


Well, Russ, perhaps I was being slightly extreme there - but if photography is visceral, then possibly at the tripping of the shutter it is and, at a slight stretch, when deciding that a print is ready to be pulled from the dish.

Never in a month of Sundays at the computer. Why? Because there is simply too much time taken and able to be taken over looking, tweaking, going back, changing this, changing that and then even going back to square one. There is not the moment when the mind yells Yes!, it mutters only not bad, getting there, great for now but I can change it later, or similar. In essence: no decisive moments!

The trouble with extrapolating to the point where you associate much bad photography with lack of visceral feeling is that maybe other people´s visceral emotion leads them exactly to the point where the poor photo is made! No accounting for another´s gut instinct!

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on June 22, 2009, 04:49:21 AM
Quote from: Rob C
This is not the place for discussing sexual hang-ups. This is the place for discussing sexual hang-ups. How lo can you go and remain visceral?

Rob C

Make your mind up Rob - is it or isn't it the place for discussing sexual hang-ups?      

Visceral = intestina/guts.  One down from that is inguinal - not what I was referring to, as well you know you mischief maker.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2009, 05:36:05 AM
Quote from: tom  b
Painting and drawing aren't mutually exclusive. For me painting and photography both help me see the world better.



This is an often stated view. However, there has to be doubt as to whether it is really a positive statement or otherwise.

In the case of landscape, it can be either that you learn to see the world as a better place than you had imagined or, regrettably, as the opposite: a place ravaged by the influence of man. Or perhaps tom b means neither, more that painting/photography offer a means/need for observation.

Regarding people photography, all I can really say after spending my life in pursuit of the beautiful is this: there is one hell of a lot more neutral than either beautiful or ugly, and of the latter two, the beautiful are very much in the minority. Would I have been happier not knowing this? Would not having looked that carefully be a less painful or discouraging experience? I can only offer more questions on this and certainly no definitive (for me) answers.

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2009, 05:40:06 AM
Quote from: Stuarte
Make your mind up Rob - is it or isn't it the place for discussing sexual hang-ups?      

Visceral = intestina/guts.  One down from that is inguinal - not what I was referring to, as well you know you mischief maker.


Stuart, were I still on speaking terms with Kinsey, Krafft-Ebing et al I might be able to answer or simply make up my mind. Alas, I have to leave it as  gut emotion sans mental certification one way or the other.

;-)

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2009, 11:37:02 AM
Quote from: Rob C
This is an often stated view. However, there has to be doubt as to whether it is really a positive statement or otherwise.

In the case of landscape, it can be either that you learn to see the world as a better place than you had imagined or, regrettably, as the opposite: a place ravaged by the influence of man. Or perhaps tom b means neither, more that painting/photography offer a means/need for observation.

Regarding people photography, all I can really say after spending my life in pursuit of the beautiful is this: there is one hell of a lot more neutral than either beautiful or ugly, and of the latter two, the beautiful are very much in the minority. Would I have been happier not knowing this? Would not having looked that carefully be a less painful or discouraging experience? I can only offer more questions on this and certainly no definitive (for me) answers.

Rob C

Rob,

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty..." If you believe Keats was right, that leaves a lot of room for things other than what the eye, on first glance, reports as "beauty." Is this little girl beautiful? She's growing up in Vietnam in 1965. The war is going on all around her and, I think, her expression reflects the uncertainty in her life. Is this face, with its reflection of uncertainty "neutral," beautiful or ugly? I'd opt for beautiful because that little face tells me something important. I can't tell you what it is because I can't put it into words, but my soul knows.

[attachment=14755:The_Frown.jpg]
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2009, 11:49:01 AM
Quote from: Rob C
Well, Russ, perhaps I was being slightly extreme there - but if photography is visceral, then possibly at the tripping of the shutter it is and, at a slight stretch, when deciding that a print is ready to be pulled from the dish.

Never in a month of Sundays at the computer. Why? Because there is simply too much time taken and able to be taken over looking, tweaking, going back, changing this, changing that and then even going back to square one. There is not the moment when the mind yells Yes!, it mutters only not bad, getting there, great for now but I can change it later, or similar. In essence: no decisive moments!

The trouble with extrapolating to the point where you associate much bad photography with lack of visceral feeling is that maybe other people´s visceral emotion leads them exactly to the point where the poor photo is made! No accounting for another´s gut instinct!

Rob C

I don't know, Rob. I spent a lot of time in darkrooms, pulling prints from the dish, and I can't really see much difference between that and what happens on the computer. Given a fully equipped darkroom and enough time, I'd venture to say you can do just about anything to a photograph you can do with Photoshop. I don't think either darkroom work or computer work ever is visceral. It's mostly grunt work. The visceral part comes at the moment you recognize that "what's before me is a picture!" If it's your mind telling you that, it's likely that what you'll produce will be either pretty junk or an academic art school exercise. But if it's your gut telling you "for god's sake, shoot now!, you may get lucky and produce something worthwhile.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 22, 2009, 05:16:07 PM
Quote from: RSL
I don't know, Rob. I spent a lot of time in darkrooms, pulling prints from the dish, and I can't really see much difference between that and what happens on the computer. Given a fully equipped darkroom and enough time, I'd venture to say you can do just about anything to a photograph you can do with Photoshop. I don't think either darkroom work or computer work ever is visceral. It's mostly grunt work. The visceral part comes at the moment you recognize that "what's before me is a picture!" If it's your mind telling you that, it's likely that what you'll produce will be either pretty junk or an academic art school exercise. But if it's your gut telling you "for god's sake, shoot now!, you may get lucky and produce something worthwhile.


Fair enough, Russ, but that wasn´t my experience of darkroom work, at least, not of the stuff that I really wanted to shoot.

And as importantly, before computers there wasn´t this urge to go on and on until one lost sight of the original shot. Other than some oddballs who might have derived a perverse masochistic pleaure from the above, making b/w prints - at least in fashion - was never about extracting the very last ounce of detail out of a corner or edge of a garment - it was - for me - all about catching the mood. If you wanted the other, you could always shoot a material swatch, no model required. And that mood just leaped out of the dish and kissed you when it was there. Of course, one was a lot younger at the time; I remember having to be very careful around mirrors - they had a tendency to leap at me too.

Frankly, the same dedication to nth degree control is what I think has ruined much of the girl photography that currently goes under the name of glamour, a title I hate, not least because its present connotations spell anything but glamour for me. Glamour was, as I might have mentioned before, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Susan Hayward and, obviously, the era before their time too. As with my Golden Age, it all started to go wrong mid-sixties with the crass displacing the class. As with that other term for bright, breezy, happy which I dare not print in case I get struck off - the word has been hi-jacked, stolen, perverted and generally corrupted beyond recognition.

But I certainly didn´t look on darkroom work as "grunt work" at all - it was the ultimate step between the idea and the fact. And the cheque later did no harm either, if one must be totally realistic...

Ciao

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 22, 2009, 05:58:21 PM
Quote from: Rob C
Fair enough, Russ, but that wasn´t my experience of darkroom work, at least, not of the stuff that I really wanted to shoot.

Well, I'll have to admit that it was grunt work I enjoyed. Had I not enjoyed it, I'd not have done it. But as far as I'm concerned the creative part of the whole process takes place when you release the shutter. If I'd had the support structure HCB had I'd probably have turned over my film for someone else to print, as he did. Of course I never did much studio work, bit I did enough to know that was a different story.

Quote
And as importantly, before computers there wasn´t this urge to go on and on until one lost sight of the original shot.

This is what I've been preaching against on User Critiques ever since I discovered LLS. As far as I'm concerned, if you have to do more than a bit of sharpening and possibly a small color shift if the lighting was difficult, then you've blown the shot, and it doesn't really belong on the web. To me, routine cropping indicates the work of a novice. It particularly galls me to see someone take a perfectly good photograph and make drastic changes in Photoshop in order to create "drama." If the drama wasn't there the moment you tripped the shutter, no amount of Photoshopping is going to introduce real drama. What the Photoshopping usually introduces instead of drama is fabrication for anyone with eyes to see.

On the other hand, I'm not convinced the computer has made that much difference. There were people who went on and on in the darkroom too -- especially in pictorialism's heyday. Seems to me the only real difference is that with a computer you don't have to do all that messy wet work and cleaning up.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tom b on June 23, 2009, 12:03:37 AM
The real advantage of digital photography and Photoshop is the undo button. Ah, the number of times that I have wanted an undo key when I am painting. Quite often a history palette would be useful too.

One other major problem is that when you paint you only create one painting. If you sell a painting it is gone forever. You can't click the print button and make another identical painting.

The last thing that is challenging about painting is the battle between real and imagined tones. The painting that I am working on at the moment has a wave washing over a rock late afternoon. I started painting the wash and kept having to increase the tone. I used the eyedropper tool in Photoshop to pick up the colour. It is so much darker that the white water my brain interprets it as being.

[attachment=14776:painting.jpg]

Cheers,
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: dalethorn on June 23, 2009, 10:33:56 PM
Quote from: RSL
.....As far as I'm concerned, if you have to do more than a bit of sharpening and possibly a small color shift if the lighting was difficult, then you've blown the shot, and it doesn't really belong on the web.
.....On the other hand, I'm not convinced the computer has made that much difference.

Shortly before he passed on, my dear old dad said to me "I don't see the usefulness of computers - what can they do we didn't already do before that?"  It's really difficult to believe people still ponder these questions.  I mean, "....it doesn't belong on the web" ??  The Web is the storehouse of computer creations.  I'm sure there's a valid point in there somewhere, but it's surrounded by so many absolutes that it's difficult to find.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: John Camp on June 24, 2009, 04:07:15 PM
Quote from: RSL
I don't know, Rob. I spent a lot of time in darkrooms, pulling prints from the dish, and I can't really see much difference between that and what happens on the computer. Given a fully equipped darkroom and enough time, I'd venture to say you can do just about anything to a photograph you can do with Photoshop.

Try to fix spherical aberration in a darkroom...or adjust perspective...or substitute one color for another, but only that color and nothing else...in fifteen seconds.

Painting and photography are radically different; their only common ground is that they're visual. However, people who say they can't draw usually haven't tried hard enough -- most drawing professors will tell you that if you can write sentence with a pencil, you can learn to draw quite well indeed. But it takes persistence and practice and you have to go through quite a bit of time when you're bad at it. A famous artist, Jim Dine, decided after he was already famoius that he didn't draw well enough, and took several years off to learn...and it took him several years to get where he wanted to go. It's like playing the piano -- you're not a good piano player after two weeks of lessons. And that's not necessarily true with a camera. If you give somebody a camera, and two week's worth of lessons (say, a two-week workshop at Santa Fe), that person could probably take a credible photograph, in the technical sense. That doesn't make him Ansel Adams, but, unlike other art forms, the technical aspects of camera use are pretty easy to get.

As for great drawings by children, what you usually have is great drawings by children. If you think your kid has a great talent (and I can assure you that he/she doesn't,) ask him/her to draw an accurate picture of a simple pine cone. Won't be able to do it. That's why drawings by children usually aren't found in museums.

I think it's important to distinguish between facility and talent -- facility is pretty much a matter of eye-hand coordination, and some people have quite a good facility, and some children are better at it than other children. They are not necessarily talented, because talent involves a whole complex of learned qualities, plus a cultivated way of looking at the world. Cezanne was one of the world's great artists -- a great talent -- but didn't draw as well as many contemporaries who were not nearly as talented, possibly because he didn't care about it enough. He didn't have an easy facility, but he did have a great talent.

The fact that a child can sometimes draw better than an older person need not be particularly surprising -- probably the kid practiced more. That's usually the case. If you look at most "prodigies," the thing that really distinguishes them is that they began working very hard at their skill at a very young age. (Tiger Woods, Mozart, etc.) I think one of the greatest gifts you can give a kid is that when they show a particular ability, in which they are interested, to then go out of your way to really *appreciate* what they're doing. The more approval they get for a particular activity, the more they're likely to work at it, and the better they'll get compared to their peers, and this can snowball into real talent; of they eventually go in a different direction, it can nevertheless remain an interesting and serious pasttime for the rest of the kid's life.

Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 24, 2009, 06:10:29 PM
Quote from: John Camp
Try to fix spherical aberration in a darkroom...or adjust perspective...or substitute one color for another, but only that color and nothing else...in fifteen seconds.

John, I didn't say you could do it fast. I said you could do it. Yes, there are some lens problems you can't deal with in a darkroom, but I said "almost." Reminds me of the story about the art director who told his employee, who was late with an assignment: "I didn't say I wanted it to be good. I said I wanted it by Thursday."

Quote
Painting and photography are radically different; their only common ground is that they're visual. However, people who say they can't draw usually haven't tried hard enough -- most drawing professors will tell you that if you can write sentence with a pencil, you can learn to draw quite well indeed. But it takes persistence and practice and you have to go through quite a bit of time when you're bad at it. A famous artist, Jim Dine, decided after he was already famoius that he didn't draw well enough, and took several years off to learn...and it took him several years to get where he wanted to go. It's like playing the piano -- you're not a good piano player after two weeks of lessons. And that's not necessarily true with a camera. If you give somebody a camera, and two week's worth of lessons (say, a two-week workshop at Santa Fe), that person could probably take a credible photograph, in the technical sense. That doesn't make him Ansel Adams, but, unlike other art forms, the technical aspects of camera use are pretty easy to get.

Well, I agree that almost anyone can learn to draw with enough practice. I did it, and I'm as klutzy with a pencil as anyone around. I don't agree about photography. Superficially, what you're saying is true, and most of what I see on User Critiques are those "credible" photographs you're talking about. You're right. The technical aspects are pretty basic and easy to master, but although you have to master the technical aspects to make fine photographs, the technical aspects are not what make photographs that reasonably can be called art.  

Quote
As for great drawings by children, what you usually have is great drawings by children. If you think your kid has a great talent (and I can assure you that he/she doesn't,) ask him/her to draw an accurate picture of a simple pine cone. Won't be able to do it. That's why drawings by children usually aren't found in museums.

I think it's important to distinguish between facility and talent -- facility is pretty much a matter of eye-hand coordination, and some people have quite a good facility, and some children are better at it than other children. They are not necessarily talented, because talent involves a whole complex of learned qualities, plus a cultivated way of looking at the world. Cezanne was one of the world's great artists -- a great talent -- but didn't draw as well as many contemporaries who were not nearly as talented, possibly because he didn't care about it enough. He didn't have an easy facility, but he did have a great talent.

The fact that a child can sometimes draw better than an older person need not be particularly surprising -- probably the kid practiced more. That's usually the case. If you look at most "prodigies," the thing that really distinguishes them is that they began working very hard at their skill at a very young age. (Tiger Woods, Mozart, etc.) I think one of the greatest gifts you can give a kid is that when they show a particular ability, in which they are interested, to then go out of your way to really *appreciate* what they're doing. The more approval they get for a particular activity, the more they're likely to work at it, and the better they'll get compared to their peers, and this can snowball into real talent; of they eventually go in a different direction, it can nevertheless remain an interesting and serious pasttime for the rest of the kid's life.

Depends on what you mean by "better." What I was talking about earlier is the kind of fresh vision you see in kids' art work. Yes, some museums do hang kids' work. I know of at least two -- one in Florida, the other in Colorado. True, the stuff doesn't stay up long, but when a bunch of the other stuff in the museum is the kind of self-conscious, self-absorbed "art" being hung nowadays, the kids' stuff can be much more interesting than the "adult" stuff.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: John Camp on June 24, 2009, 09:06:50 PM
Quote from: RSL
Depends on what you mean by "better." What I was talking about earlier is the kind of fresh vision you see in kids' art work. Yes, some museums do hang kids' work. I know of at least two -- one in Florida, the other in Colorado. True, the stuff doesn't stay up long, but when a bunch of the other stuff in the museum is the kind of self-conscious, self-absorbed "art" being hung nowadays, the kids' stuff can be much more interesting than the "adult" stuff.

Of course, it always depends on what you mean by better. But much of what is produced and shown as adult art isn't very good. I read somewhere that during the period of roughly 1860 to 1900 there were 25,000 practicing professional artists in Paris.  I doubt that anyone other than an art historian could name more than 50 or 100. That's because most of the "art" was junk, as it still is, and probably always was. Historians write about how somebody like Michelangelo was the outstanding pupil in so-and-so's studio, which leaves open the question, what happened to the others? Well, the others weren't very good, even though they were genuine "renaissance painters," and so disappeared.

I have no problems with kids working at art, producing it, having it hung around, admired and praised, I just don't think it's great, or even very good (as art.) It's kid's art. It might lead to something serious, but probably not. Sounds cynical, but it's really just statistics.

JC  
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 24, 2009, 09:50:58 PM
Quote from: John Camp
Of course, it always depends on what you mean by better. But much of what is produced and shown as adult art isn't very good. I read somewhere that during the period of roughly 1860 to 1900 there were 25,000 practicing professional artists in Paris.  I doubt that anyone other than an art historian could name more than 50 or 100. That's because most of the "art" was junk, as it still is, and probably always was. Historians write about how somebody like Michelangelo was the outstanding pupil in so-and-so's studio, which leaves open the question, what happened to the others? Well, the others weren't very good, even though they were genuine "renaissance painters," and so disappeared.

I have no problems with kids working at art, producing it, having it hung around, admired and praised, I just don't think it's great, or even very good (as art.) It's kid's art. It might lead to something serious, but probably not. Sounds cynical, but it's really just statistics.

JC

John,

I heartily agree with everything you just said. Children's art is interesting because it's fresh and free. But children haven't the life experiences that translate into work that gives you the transcendental flash essential to what I'd call "fine art." Then there are the "artists" you mentioned who have neither the unconstrained approach of a child nor the informed but intuitive approach of a master. 25,000 is a statistic I hadn't run across, but it's fascinating to think of it. That group included the artists who were supported by the French art establishment at the same time that establishment was turning up its nose at the Impressionists. I said it earlier on one of these threads and I'll say it again: Time is the filter that ultimately defines art.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on June 25, 2009, 05:10:00 AM
I don't aspire to be an artist.  Fortunately that still leaves room for being creative - for thinking, saying and doing things that surprise and delight me.

My point isn't about the relative merits of photography and painting/drawing.  Rather, it's about expressing one's vision.  I don't aspire to create art but I do aspire to express my vision - my way of seeing things.  Part of the urge to do so is that seeking to express my vision quickens my spirit and makes me engage more with life.  

I can only imagine what it would be like to express my vision through paints/pencils etc because I have never taken the time, and now don't have the time, to develop any technical competence.  So for the moment, I do what expressing I can through photography.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 25, 2009, 10:31:06 AM
All very convincingly written, chaps, but I cannot accept that "anyone" can learn to draw, paint or photograph well just by dint of repeated attempts.

Of the three, I´d say that photography is the easy option and, in practice, sheer technique has saved the day for me when given a lousy model and absolutely hideous clothes. The ability to light the thing, focus, shoot and print it has been enough. But was it good, did it approach any artistic level at all? Nope. Just a technically good image.

Perhaps it´s what we are all saying, in different ways, that if you want art then technique is not enough. If I may step back to the Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, depending on whose graduated scale you select, I really wonder how much of it is technique, lack of it or simply the attraction - or even revulsion - of the (then) new. One of my favourites is old Vincent; would he be a great artist? I find it difficult to say yes and as difficult to deny him the mantle. But, he had something which has become something other than his work, something created over and above it by myth, other people´s writings and, eventually, our own expectations. Perhaps the child, whose innocence we sought as progidy, might be the better critic, the true analyst.

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: dalethorn on June 25, 2009, 11:54:36 AM
Quote from: Rob C
Perhaps it´s what we are all saying, in different ways, that if you want art then technique is not enough. If I may step back to the Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, depending on whose graduated scale you select, I really wonder how much of it is technique, lack of it or simply the attraction - or even revulsion - of the (then) new.
Rob C

I once asked some jazz musicians in Santa Barbara how they can sit down with people they haven't played with before, and jump right in to a difficult tune and pull it off convincingly.  They said "It's a language - once you learn it, you just converse with the other musicians.  A different tune is just a different topic, but all part of the conversation."
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on June 25, 2009, 10:06:59 PM
Quote from: Rob C
All very convincingly written, chaps, but I cannot accept that "anyone" can learn to draw, paint or photograph well just by dint of repeated attempts.

Of the three, I´d say that photography is the easy option and, in practice, sheer technique has saved the day for me when given a lousy model and absolutely hideous clothes. The ability to light the thing, focus, shoot and print it has been enough. But was it good, did it approach any artistic level at all? Nope. Just a technically good image.

Perhaps it´s what we are all saying, in different ways, that if you want art then technique is not enough. If I may step back to the Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, depending on whose graduated scale you select, I really wonder how much of it is technique, lack of it or simply the attraction - or even revulsion - of the (then) new. One of my favourites is old Vincent; would he be a great artist? I find it difficult to say yes and as difficult to deny him the mantle. But, he had something which has become something other than his work, something created over and above it by myth, other people´s writings and, eventually, our own expectations. Perhaps the child, whose innocence we sought as progidy, might be the better critic, the true analyst.

Rob C

Rob, I don't think anyone's saying you can learn to draw or paint well just by dint of hard work. I can draw, and I learned to do that by hard work. But I can't say I learned to draw "well." I haven't done it for a long time now. I always loved photography and I guess I can say I've always been serious about my photography, but though my drawing resulted in some pretty fair woodcuts, drawing always was purely for fun. I never really took it seriously.

I understand what you're saying about studio photography. My pro friends both say the same thing you're saying, and then they say: "I wish I could do what you do and just go out and shoot what I want to shoot." But they can't, because they need to feed their families, and you can't make a buck doing what I do in photography. Oh, I sell prints all right, but what I end up netting is pocket change. I'm sure that at least one of those friends is quite capable of producing serious photographic art, but he has to do weddings instead. What do weddings require? They require Cliches. Brides don't want anything "different." They want what they see in their married friends' wedding albums.

And, yes, I think what we're all saying is, if you want art, technique is not enough. On the other hand, technique is essential. As I've said before, during the ten years my wife had her gallery I saw an awful lot of "art" by people who succeeded in the inspiration department but failed because they never bothered to learn the technique necessary to give wings to their inspiration. I think you can learn photographic technique -- and I'm not talking about f stops and shutter speeds now -- by spending a lot of time looking at the work of the masters. But when it comes to making art, you're pretty much on your own.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tom b on June 25, 2009, 11:19:59 PM
Quote from: RSL
I'm sure that at least one of those friends is quite capable of producing serious photographic art, but he has to do weddings instead. What do weddings require? They require Cliches. Brides don't want anything "different." They want what they see in their married friends' wedding albums.

Not all brides want cliches. Have you seen the work of John Michael Cooper:

http://trashthedress.wordpress.com/2007/06...el-cooper-alt-f (http://trashthedress.wordpress.com/2007/06/14/the-godfather-of-trashing-john-michael-cooper-alt-f)

http://altf.com (http://altf.com)

Like all endeavors some people will find a way to show their artistic vision.

Cheers,
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on June 26, 2009, 05:51:55 AM
Quote from: tom  b
Not all brides want cliches. Have you seen the work of John Michael Cooper:

http://trashthedress.wordpress.com/2007/06...el-cooper-alt-f (http://trashthedress.wordpress.com/2007/06/14/the-godfather-of-trashing-john-michael-cooper-alt-f)

http://altf.com (http://altf.com)

Like all endeavors some people will find a way to show their artistic vision.

Cheers,


Some interesting shots, Tom, but I´d suggest it depends more on the couple than the photographer, not the actual photography but the location/treatment possibility.

In the UK I haven´t seen many Cadillac-in-the-desert shots, mainly Rolls-Royce in the hotel gardens ones...

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on July 01, 2009, 09:34:52 AM
I recently realised that one thing I value about photography is being able to gain different perspectives on the world around me as it is, rather than "making it up" with paints.  Sometimes - maybe even usually - something surreal or unusual emerges from a photo as I'm looking at it later.  It may be part of a photo, or the whole thing.  Who knows whetherI  actually noticed it at any level when I took the photo.  Maybe I did notice something unconsciously.

So amid all the happy snapping and the "catching a moment", I suspect what I am after is creating shots that have a certain magic - the mojo.  I want them to be "technically" good in terms of focus, sharpness, noise etc, but without the mojo they're just my versions of gazillions of photos that others have taken.  

Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on July 01, 2009, 10:11:35 AM
Quote from: Stuarte
I recently realised that one thing I value about photography is being able to gain different perspectives on the world around me as it is, rather than "making it up" with paints.  Sometimes - maybe even usually - something surreal or unusual emerges from a photo as I'm looking at it later.  It may be part of a photo, or the whole thing.  Who knows whetherI  actually noticed it at any level when I took the photo.  Maybe I did notice something unconsciously.

So amid all the happy snapping and the "catching a moment", I suspect what I am after is creating shots that have a certain magic - the mojo.  I want them to be "technically" good in terms of focus, sharpness, noise etc, but without the mojo they're just my versions of gazillions of photos that others have taken.


A refreshingly honest take on what is the constant condition of the amateur photographer. I mean no slur here - I am in exactly the same "amateur" position as anybody else today. Donovan summed it up well when he said, and I paraphrase: the amateur´s biggest problem is finding a reason to take a photograph.

In the days of assignments it was a breeze: one simply went out to create the best shots one knew how to create; the motivation was ego, money and, above the others, retention of client at the cost of another rival.

As an amateur, the inevitable questions: does it matter a damn? Won´t tomorrow do just as well?

So yes, you have it nailed. But the mojo plays by its own rules and bides its own time.

I envy the motivation that drives James and the others still doing it for real.

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on July 01, 2009, 10:23:08 AM
Quote from: Rob C
So yes, you have it nailed. But the mojo plays by its own rules and bides its own time.

I envy the motivation that drives James and the others still doing it for real.

Rob C


Someone recently saw some party photos I had taken - which contained some real good ones - and asked me if I would do it professionally.  I said no, because I couldn't guarantee the quality.  And perhaps more to the point, financially it wouldn't be worth the time or investment to get to a point where I could guarantee the quality.  I earn far more doing commissioned writing "for real".  

The paradox is that while I do paid writing, the thought of writing for pleasure (except in places such as this) fills me with horror.  I very much like taking photos, for a variety of reasons, but I very much doubt that I would like to do it as a profession.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on July 01, 2009, 03:11:51 PM
Quote from: Stuarte
Someone recently saw some party photos I had taken - which contained some real good ones - and asked me if I would do it professionally.  I said no, because I couldn't guarantee the quality.  And perhaps more to the point, financially it wouldn't be worth the time or investment to get to a point where I could guarantee the quality.  I earn far more doing commissioned writing "for real".  

The paradox is that while I do paid writing, the thought of writing for pleasure (except in places such as this) fills me with horror.  I very much like taking photos, for a variety of reasons, but I very much doubt that I would like to do it as a profession.


When I was still in school and about to sit my Highers - English equivalent probably A-Levels - I had this urge to write and photograph and travel seemed the perfect combination. But life had other plans, and the writing took a holiday until about six or seven years ago when I started getting interested in the internet and retirement provided the time to explore some of it.

But, in the end, there doesn´t seem to be much space about (or I have yet to find it) where anything really brings much sustained conversation or discussion; everything seems to degenerate into argument or outright hostility. What a shame it has to end like that.

Rob C
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: dalethorn on July 01, 2009, 03:52:23 PM
If I were the one organizing a wedding or party shoot, I'd have at least two separate photographers - one strictly for the formal shots, and one for candids with no particular rules.  That way there's no question about the pro fees for the formal stuff, and whatever comes out of the candid shots is pay by the slice.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: popnfresh on July 08, 2009, 04:43:09 PM
Quote from: Stuarte
Lately I find myself wondering whether I would have spent so much money, time and attention on photography if I could paint to express my vision.  Or putting it another way, if it were possible, would I be willing to trade all the photographic equipment I now own and have ever owned for the ability to paint pictures to a standard comparable to my photographs?
Why should the ability to paint brilliantly be be conditional on giving up your camera gear? Why not keep the gear and learn how to paint?
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Stuarte on July 08, 2009, 04:59:47 PM
Quote from: popnfresh
Why should the ability to paint brilliantly be be conditional on giving up your camera gear? Why not keep the gear and learn how to paint?

It was more like one of those mythical choices - a forced choice, if you will.  In due course I may well learn how to paint and definitely keep the gear.  But at the moment, with three teen/pre-teen kids, a wife away at med school all week and a family income to earn I'm a bit short of time.
Title: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: JoshAustin on April 25, 2010, 05:37:31 AM
Quite a cool quote from one of the few artists to have embraced and mastered both painting and photography: I paint when I cannot photograph - Man Ray
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: JohnKoerner on October 02, 2010, 09:23:20 AM
Stuarte, Don't let that get you down. If you check out a museum with a display of kids' paintings you'll probably discover that most seven-year-olds can sketch and paint better than most 47-year-olds. The difference is that most kids just draw or paint what they want to draw or paint. They haven't yet learned what's the "right" stuff to paint, and they haven't yet been stunted by learning the rules.

I have a friend who's a world class artist. He was pulled out of "regular" school as a young boy because of his unbelievable artistic talent ... yet as he grew up and continued his art education, he wound-up quitting art college precisely because his instructors kept trying to make him follow the "art rules" ... and in his words, "I could piss in the snow better than they could paint." He wound-up doing things his own way, for his own reasons. Here is an example of his art, that he decided to draw on an old piece of linen for added effect:

(http://www.johnkoerner.org/Samples/indian.jpg)

This man does not need to travel with a camera to create what he sees in his mind ...

Jack




.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: ChrisS on October 02, 2010, 03:04:57 PM
"I could piss in the snow better than they could paint."

Actually, those are the words of Egon Schiele.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: JohnKoerner on October 02, 2010, 09:29:21 PM
Actually, those are the words of Egon Schiele.

Well, they're also the words of Kenny Miller (http://www.johnkoerner.org/Emoticons/laugh.gif)




.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tom b on October 26, 2010, 11:30:15 PM
I just mentioned my friend David Stanley in another part of the site. He takes another approach which is to combine his art, photography and woodwork into one finished product. His web site is here:

http://whimsicalwood.com (Sorry in advance for the navigation – he is an artist)

The interesting thing is that he doesn't use real paint but instead uses the brushes and effects of Photoshop. He does his initial drawings using pencil and paper and then scans them into Photoshop. He then uses Photoshop to colourise his drawings. If you think you know Photoshop, there are groups of people out there using it in a whole bunch of different ways to the average photographer.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on October 27, 2010, 04:13:52 AM
If you think you know Photoshop, there are groups of people out there using it in a whole bunch of different ways to the average photographer.


That's the trouble: were it photo-relevant only, then even I would be happy to keep up to date with whatever it might cost to stay au courant; as it is, it's such a powerful and expensive programme that the pension would be swallowed in a single bite!

It's like wanting to cut the lawn but insisting on an upside down helicopter to do it for you.

Rob C
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on November 01, 2010, 06:10:04 AM
  Sometimes I feel shame for myself cause I think I am a fool person. I am worse than those who are at the same age with me.So if I could paint brilliantly,I would photogragh day and night.


Ellie, you can't be that much of a fool: you have just voiced all of our own private fears.

It was summed up brilliantly some years ago when somebody wrote: I always feel people are having a better time somewhere other than where I am.

Rob C
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Alan Klein on December 19, 2010, 09:11:45 AM
I'd love to be able to paint  But alas I can't so I try to express myself and the beauty I see with my photos.  That pleases me and I hope it pleases others.  I have a good friend who is a pro artist and I just am amazed how he can create anything beyond the stick figures I usually do.  On an interesting note however, he often looks through my photos and uses them as the basis of a painting he'll do and that makes me feel pretty good.  Here's a painting that he did that came from a photo that he took of me shooting a photo.  While the girl was actually looking over my shoulder in one photo, the birds were from another photo that he combined into his single painting.  Alas, the advantages of being an painter rather than a photographer.  No one ever asks him if he "photoshopped" the painting or cloned anything?

You can see some of his other work here http://www.melgreifinger.com/

(http://g3.img-dpreview.com/201E957AADD0434AB516CE58D0F3C971.jpg)
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: jhemp on January 10, 2011, 10:10:08 AM
When I started my BFA degree years ago I was very concerned about my lack of drawing and painting ability.  I was so nervous that I thought about switching degrees.  But I was lucky to have had some great professors who encouraged me to continue.  Instead of driving myself INSANE trying to become a painter I would never be, they encouraged me to do abstract paintings of my photographs.  It was a turning point in my life.  Now when I approach a photograph I have multiple ideas running around in my head.  Sometimes I looking for the perfect B+W landscape image, or maybe I start seeing shapes in the natural environment that I photograph to turn into a painting later.  This approach constantly keeps my creative juices flowing. So don't drive yourself crazy and lock yourself into a creative box by trying to paint like you photograph.

jhemphillphotography.com
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: RSL on January 10, 2011, 10:37:24 AM

That's the trouble: were it photo-relevant only, then even I would be happy to keep up to date with whatever it might cost to stay au courant; as it is, it's such a powerful and expensive programme that the pension would be swallowed in a single bite!

It's like wanting to cut the lawn but insisting on an upside down helicopter to do it for you.

Rob C

Rob, You're right, but I keep on with Photoshopo because I've been using it for a long time. But have you looked at Lightroom? It's about all a photographer really needs.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on January 10, 2011, 01:25:06 PM
Rob, You're right, but I keep on with Photoshopo because I've been using it for a long time. But have you looked at Lightroom? It's about all a photographer really needs.


Hi Russ

So far, I'm getting most of what I need - well, really all of it - from PS6! Have looked at the CS thinggies, but the feeling I get is that they are ever more unnatural the more advanced they get, and how could it be otherwise? I use Nikon's NX2 (very unnatural) to get me as far as I can from the NEF, and then I go over to PS6 and am happy. Of course, I don't need to fake verticals etc. and I know that if I ever did, seriously, I'd go for TS lenses and do it in the camera like all good little boys should... 

However, since doing my wee jazz shots, I've been thinking that I may be interested in doing some design/layout again, and since my experience with design and calendars was when Letraset still held respect (as well as setting houses, of course), I wouldn't, currently, know where to start. Using the system of letters that are available in PS6 is very limited - perhaps that's my failure there, and PS6 does it all - but I have no idea how to slide letters all over the place to see how they fit the space and shape of a photo image. Doing it via th clicks of the keyboard is far too clumsy and limited - tiny movements matter a lot. I do have a book or two on PS, but I find I can't learn anything at all from books - by the time I read something and want to try it out, I've forgotten what the friggin' book said! Well, yes, I can drop a title into an image, but as for changing the spaces between lines of text etc., tilting letters around at angles, reversing them, I'm in the dark. I'd like to do a course on things of that type (oh dear!) but they don't seem to happen locally, at least not that I know of.

Rob C
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: benuriyahmay on January 18, 2011, 10:54:17 PM
Lately I find myself wondering whether I would have spent so much money, time and attention on photography if I could paint to express my vision.  Or putting it another way, if it were possible, would I be willing to trade all the photographic equipment I now own and have ever owned for the ability to paint pictures to a standard comparable to my photographs?

The embarrassing fact is that even at the age of seven my daughter could sketch and paint far better than I could, 40 years her senior.  It's always been a source of frustration for me that while I'm moved and inspired by what my eyes see, my hand can't even begin to express that vision.  

So discovering photography in my mid-20s turned out to be a wondering surprise.  I found that I could produce images that went some way towards satisfying the urge to express my vision - my way of seeing things.  I splashed out on cameras, lenses and darkroom equipment and spent a load of times immersed in it all.  Then along came family.  

Then along came digital.  And I'm now busily exploring the possibilities, and delighting in the even greater range of cameras, lenses, computers, software and output devices.  The investment runs to many thousands of pounds, plus a lot of time learning how to use each of the different bits of kit.  In my local photo group, even those with the simplest of equipment still use more than a moonshot's-worth of processing power to produce their images.



--------

Disclaimer

This musing is intended purely as a reflection on ways of expressing one's vision.

This has nothing to do with the relative merits of photography and painting in creating works of art.

It is not about commercial photography - clearly commercial photographers need to produce images quickly and in large volumes, and be able to process them

I dunno I mean for me, it's not something I would ever want to stop doing. I have a passion for it. It doesn't matter if I was able to be a painter I would not give photography up for it. I would probably split my time between the two. I'm working towards photography as a career though and maybe you don't have the passion I have. It sounds like you spend enough time and money on it for it to be considered a passion, but I dunno if your runs as deep as mine. For me, I feel complete with new photographs to work with. I've been at it for ten years, and painting doesn't have that history for me.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Gemmtech on January 20, 2011, 09:35:17 AM
I think "They" say there's no such thing as a dumb question, so I'll answer this one.  I've never seen a photograph in the world compare to a Rembrandt.  As Bill T stated, Apples & Oranges, I'd say Caviar (Painter) and Hamburger (Photographer).
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: iamacamera on October 04, 2011, 03:22:45 PM
Absolutely!!!  My degree is in art; painting etc.  When I was in art school I had to take a photography class.  That ended all aspirations to paint.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: fotometria gr on October 08, 2011, 09:35:06 AM
Absolutely!!!  My degree is in art; painting etc.  When I was in art school I had to take a photography class.  That ended all aspirations to paint.
Is there anybody here who believes that if Leonardo was in our days would have chosen to leave photography ....be? Does anybody remember Mann Ray? Regards, Theodoros. www.fotometria.gr
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tessfully on October 14, 2011, 08:43:31 AM
I love many of the examples of artists, both painters and photographers, as provided above.


Personally, I believe photography to have the same potential to create art as painting, and if I could paint brilliantly I would do both as brilliantly as possible and within both mediums try to re-create outside the box as much as my technology, talent and mind will allow.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: DeeJay on November 13, 2011, 08:26:28 AM
I can paint OK. But I'm lazy and would rather take a picture.

Also what you can do in photoshop these days makes you more of a painter so my urges are satisfied mainly.

Painting is something else and I like to paint when I can find the time.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tessfully on November 13, 2011, 10:25:49 AM
When a Photographic image is also a Painting!

I am totally fascinated by this woman's work. I love the creativity and uniqueness. If I were 25 and urban I would be inspired in this direction.


from her website:



"Alexa Meade is a 25-year-old artist whose work lies at the intersection of painting, photography, performance, and installation.


Rather than creating representational paintings on a flat canvas, Alexa Meade creates her representational paintings directly on top of the physical subjects that she is referencing. When photographed, the representational painting and the subject being referenced appear to be one and the same as the 3D space of her painted scenes becomes optically compressed into a 2D plane."


and for some context:

Is it a Painting or a Photograph? | Inspiration


Her portfolio:

ALEXA MEADE \\ PORTFOLIO
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: John Gellings on November 29, 2012, 07:58:30 AM
Yes, I would photograph.  I'm very comfortable with it being a medium that uses a mechanical device.  I don't think it is inferior to painting or a substitute to painting. 
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Iluvmycam on March 04, 2013, 02:17:07 PM
Don't know?

I draw poorly, so can't even imagine. Photography is my life, that is all I do know.

Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on March 05, 2013, 04:34:32 AM
Well, I think it's certainly superior to painting by numbers.

Rob C
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: tom b on March 23, 2013, 03:23:26 AM
Just had an exhibition of my paintings and photographs to celebrate my sixtieth birthday. Some observations:

It's much easier to store digital files and print at your convenience. I've got over one hundred paintings taking up space. Paintings need good storage conditions.

I've got some great 3 Meg and 8 Meg images which I would have loved to show but resolution was a factor.

The paintings that I made from the 3 Meg photos and 35 mm 6"x4" prints were the best sellers in the exhibition (painted 10-12 years ago).

Framing enhances sales, of the thirteen paintings I sold eleven were framed.

Friends and family and a major birthday help sales.

I only had one A2 print framed and the rest were in a presentation folder. There was lots of positive feedback but only two sales. Framing seemed to be a factor.

There was one painting I could have sold ten times over. If it was a framed photograph it would have exceeded the total sales of the exhibition of 69 paintings and 21 photographs.

I just about broke even on the event and have a lot of large very good paintings framed.

I had a number of small paintings that I thought friends and family would buy, but they bought the very best of my medium sized paintings. All the medium sized, framed paintings that I would be happy to hang on my walls were snapped up.

There is a big difference in a photographic image that will make a good print and one that will make a good photographic reference for a painting.

Cheers,
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: theguywitha645d on March 31, 2013, 12:50:37 PM
I would be a photographer. I have spent a great deal of my life with painters and paintings, so I certainly have been exposed to the medium. Photographs have given me greater epiphanies than any canvas.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: debasishroy on April 02, 2013, 06:36:11 AM
You said your daughter can paint and sketch better than you ever could. That implies that you consider painting and sketching an act where you reproduce what you see exactly. That is not correct. You also say in your post that you discovered photography as a surprise in your 20s. That implies that your inability to 'photograph' situations through painting and sketching led you to 'discover' photography.

What you are saying clearly means you were a photographer all along.

I do not intend to boast but as an answer to your question, I was a famous painter (artist?) even in my school days when my oil paintings on canvas were bought by my teachers and their friends paying me serious money. I once got paid Rupees 12,000.00 for a canvas showing the zoo in 1982. This is big money those days.

However, I always wanted to do some nice wildlife photography but my parents could never afford an SLR when I was a kid. I grew up and after I got my first job I saved up to buy a used Yashica Electro X 30 and started clicking.

My answer: Never compare photography and painting. They are entirely different streams of art.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: ChrisS on April 02, 2013, 03:08:58 PM
You said your daughter can paint and sketch better than you ever could. That implies that you consider painting and sketching an act where you reproduce what you see exactly.

No it doesn't.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Isaac on April 02, 2013, 05:12:09 PM
If you think you know Photoshop, there are groups of people out there using it in a whole bunch of different ways to the average photographer.

For example, Photoshop for Artists: A Complete Guide for Fine Artists, Photographers, and Printmakers (http://books.google.com/books?id=UdPuzPXllSAC&dq=photoshop+for+artists)
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Isaac on April 02, 2013, 05:28:59 PM
I recently realised that one thing I value about photography is being able to gain different perspectives on the world around me as it is, rather than "making it up" with paints.

“Some photographers are inventors, others are discoverers. Personally, I'm interested in discovery, not for experimental purposes but to come to grips with life itself. It's the "why" that interests me. I shun the dangers of the anecdotal and the picturesque.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson on the art of photography, Harper's Magazine, November 1961
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: jjj on April 02, 2013, 09:10:15 PM
I only had one A2 print framed and the rest were in a presentation folder. There was lots of positive feedback but only two sales. Framing seemed to be a factor.

There was one painting I could have sold ten times over. If it was a framed photograph it would have exceeded the total sales of the exhibition of 69 paintings and 21 photographs.
Photograph your paintings and make high quality prints of them, then you can eat you cake and still have it.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: jjj on April 02, 2013, 09:22:30 PM
However, since doing my wee jazz shots, I've been thinking that I may be interested in doing some design/layout again, and since my experience with design and calendars was when Letraset still held respect (as well as setting houses, of course), I wouldn't, currently, know where to start. Using the system of letters that are available in PS6 is very limited - perhaps that's my failure there, and PS6 does it all - but I have no idea how to slide letters all over the place to see how they fit the space and shape of a photo image.
PS has some amazing type capability.
Stick some type on an empty file, select all or parts of the type and then play with the controls in character panel to see what the various options do. Or see links below.


Quote
Doing it via th clicks of the keyboard is far too clumsy and limited - tiny movements matter a lot.
And tiny movements can indeed be easily done by using keyboard and type tools in PS. You can adjust kerning and line spacing in very fine amounts. PS is probably used more by graphic designers than it is by photographers and for good reason.

Quote
I do have a book or two on PS, but I find I can't learn anything at all from books - by the time I read something and want to try it out, I've forgotten what the friggin' book said! Well, yes, I can drop a title into an image, but as for changing the spaces between lines of text etc., tilting letters around at angles, reversing them, I'm in the dark. I'd like to do a course on things of that type (oh dear!) but they don't seem to happen locally, at least not that I know of.

Here's some tutorial on how to do photoshop style thangs (http://creativenerds.co.uk/tutorials/70-photoshop-ttorials-for-creating-perfect-typography/) to type.
But first you need to know the basic attributes of the character panel (http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/type/character-panel/) and if using body text then the paragraph panel (http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/type/paragraph-panel/) may need to be used

Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: theguywitha645d on April 04, 2013, 02:53:10 PM
However, since doing my wee jazz shots, I've been thinking that I may be interested in doing some design/layout again, and since my experience with design and calendars was when Letraset still held respect (as well as setting houses, of course), I wouldn't, currently, know where to start. Using the system of letters that are available in PS6 is very limited - perhaps that's my failure there, and PS6 does it all - but I have no idea how to slide letters all over the place to see how they fit the space and shape of a photo image. Doing it via th clicks of the keyboard is far too clumsy and limited - tiny movements matter a lot. I do have a book or two on PS, but I find I can't learn anything at all from books - by the time I read something and want to try it out, I've forgotten what the friggin' book said! Well, yes, I can drop a title into an image, but as for changing the spaces between lines of text etc., tilting letters around at angles, reversing them, I'm in the dark. I'd like to do a course on things of that type (oh dear!) but they don't seem to happen locally, at least not that I know of.

Rob C

Design and layout is not Photoshop's thing. You want InDesign. There should be plenty on the internet about typography. But is it is a subtle art.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: Rob C on April 04, 2013, 03:16:47 PM
Design and layout is not Photoshop's thing. You want InDesign. There should be plenty on the internet about typography. But is it is a subtle art.


Indeed, and many people in the design world felt quiite uncomfortable with it, myself included!

I think that it isn't thought of as glamorous, and that's partly to blame, but there's no doubt that some great typographic design has lasted over the years and still looks good today. As with other arts, I suspect that it requires a particular set of aesthetic qualities from the specialist and is not something you can do by comparing lists of compatible styles of lettering! There were great LP covers in the day... some very pleasing calendar layouts too.

Ciao -

Rob C
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: jjj on April 05, 2013, 01:20:26 AM
Design and layout is not Photoshop's thing. You want InDesign.
That'll come a big surprise to all those graphic designers using PS.  ;D
 It's an awesome tool for design and certain kinds of layout, though InDesign is obviously better at laying out a magazine or newspaper.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: theguywitha645d on April 05, 2013, 12:12:22 PM
That'll come a big surprise to all those graphic designers using PS.  ;D
 It's an awesome tool for design and certain kinds of layout, though InDesign is obviously better at laying out a magazine or newspaper.

The only graphic designers I know using PS for that type of work don't know anything else. PS is really clunky for design work.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: jjj on April 05, 2013, 09:23:18 PM
The only graphic designers I know using PS for that type of work don't know anything else. PS is really clunky for design work.
Only if you do not know what you are doing.  :P
I bet PS is used by more designers than it is by photographers.
Though if you are trying to layout say a long form design such as an entire magazine then yes it is not exactly suitable for that, but I already mentioned that caveat.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: theguywitha645d on April 05, 2013, 10:45:36 PM
Only if you do not know what you are doing.  :P
I bet PS is used by more designers than it is by photographers.
Though if you are trying to layout say a long form design such as an entire magazine then yes it is not exactly suitable for that, but I already mentioned that caveat.

Actually, I do know what I am doing. I have no idea the ratio of designer/photographer use of Photoshop. Whatever the ratio, it does not prove ease or efficiency of use. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign regularly. That is the hazards of the profession--know what tool to use.
Title: Re: If you could paint brilliantly, would you photograph?
Post by: jjj on April 07, 2013, 07:52:58 AM
Actually, I do know what I am doing. I have no idea the ratio of designer/photographer use of Photoshop. Whatever the ratio, it does not prove ease or efficiency of use. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign regularly. That is the hazards of the profession--know what tool to use.
Never using Illustrator would be my choice. Cannot stand the programme. Clunky, clumsy and pointlessly difficult to use. Less dreadful than it used to be but still don't like it. Always preferred Corel Draw myself, but as it was a PC only programme it always got sneered at by graphic designers. Didn't stop Adobe borrowing lots of ideas from it though.

A lot of people use PS for design because even if you may not think so, it is actually very good for design as you have very precise control with pixel editing capability, painting tools, drawing tools, type tools, blending modes, layers....etc. I remember being puzzled at how many examples of really good graphic design were produced in Quark [what a crap/overpriced programme] some years back and then found out they were actually done in PS and whole page was then placed in the Quark layout. A good example of knowing what tools to use.  :P And as I said a couple of times above PS is not suited to long form layout, but graphic design is something it certainly excels at and is why it is often used to do web design, even if the coding and final layout is done in say Dreamweaver.