Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,688
Only the appreciation is real

moedius wrote:

John Crowe wrote:

For ME photography is about real images printed on photographic paper to recreate the reality as much as possible. If one is going to print on canvas, and/or destroy a photographic image to make it look like a painting, then why not simply paint it in the first place.

On the opposite approach, I must say I am extremely impressed by those painters who paint images that look like photographs. That is an insane skill but I suspect I have more appreciation for the artist than the actual work.

This reminded me of my attitude towards photorealistic artists when I was in art school.

I've matured a lot in the decades since, but as a cocky 18 year old I would laugh at my fellow students who would spend such insane amounts of time and effort to reproduce reality, "if I wanted that I would just take a photo."

I can appreciate the craft and nuance behind it better now, but at the time I couldn't figure out why you would spend weeks or months effectively create a photo in ink or graphite or paint, when there's virtually no limit to what you can create when you're fully drawing from your imagination.

Also, as a fun side note for those who might not know, arguments have been made that many of the classical painting greats used optics as aids (like the camera obscura) in their painting.

And of course this offends some, which is ridiculous IMO. Of course they would use the tools available without compunction, anything to elevate their craft would have been fair game. Unfortunately I think these aids and their use fell under their secretive tricks of the trade and weren't documented aside from occasional oblique references.

I agree - that perfect realism in a photograph can be as much art as the perfectly realistic painted art and as much as the badly caught photographic mistake  can move as much as Picasso.

One could uncharitably argue that Cartier-Bresson and Picasso were very good at self-marketing and that there are many unknowns whose work is as good if not better.

But find a Picasso in a junk shop and get it authenticated and suddenly one is a millionaire.

I am a peasant by heart - if you can’t eat it, sleep in it or otherwise use it productively it is really not worth anything.  Such things solely owned as “investments” are products of the “bigger fool” theory whereby the idea goes that I was a fool to pay so much for something but surely I can re-sell it later to a greater fool.  ….and so on until the investment is consumed, lost, stolen or otherwise destroyed.  The last owner of the tangible is the biggest fool.

But I digress - there is nothing wrong with appreciating art in itself it is only when it becomes an investment when the cycle starts turning.  Most of us have to be satisfied with a modicum of appreciation given by those that have viewed our work.

I think that the real object of creating an image that is not just purely a record of family, places, or things is to make it appreciated by others.  If that succeeds then it matters not whether it is a perfect reproduction, made with kit that exhibits faults, painted by an artist, or simply manipulated  to a less real state - even if that is a mimic of the effect of being painted.

Every self employed professional, even those no in the art business has to promote their skills to some degree to be successful.

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Tom Caldwell

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