Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,688
Re: Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

Juyal wrote:

The Realist movement in art that began in the mid-19th century has been hijacked by the "sharpest movement" in photography.

You are quite right - early photography was limited by the medium and the equipment.  It was regarded as poor-man’s relation to real art and thought to be an offshoot of painting.

Some really amazing dreamy images were made at that time and are still classic images of their genre.

But as the media and the equipment improved pictorial representation all but died in the never ending pursuit of the perfect image representation. Which of course persists to this day.

Pictorialism of course was largely an image of necessity due to the gear of the times.  However some did manipulate in the darkroom.

These days almost every camera and lens combination can make a satisfactory image and therefore “Photography Art” much more often needs some time spent in the computer darkroom (as the original is too perfectly “real”  and of high resolution).

The way I see it is that a great natural portrait made out of a camera is interesting for “a look” (only).  It might be a cute kid, an interesting street image, someone you know, or a famous person. But hang it in a gallery or on the wall as art?  It is just a photograph…. But a portrait made into art is much more anonymous and can be hung as art if the artfulness is good enough.  The viewer is now more impressed with the subject’s aura than if he is someone’s “Uncle Fred”.  But you cannot make a poorly composed or thought out image better simply by trying to turn it into art.

One form (only) of Photographic Art is to actually destroy a lot of the unnecessary high resolution detail in order to direct the eye to the subject matter of the image. Of course we are talking here about dof control gone mad …..  But that is what artists with their paintings did well before hyper-realism set out to mimic photography. How far has the wheel actually turned?

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Tom Caldwell

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