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Thread: Inspiration from other Media

  1. #21
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    How are photos and paintings similar and dissimilar? Why do you think there are differences regarding the number of subjects?
    I'm way behind on this but see the post on William James Stillman on my blog: I'm in the mist of tracing the history and influences of American landscape photography.


    Thomas

  2. #22

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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    How are photos and paintings similar and dissimilar? Why do you think there are differences regarding the number of subjects?
    The similarities and dissimilarities are too numerous to list. And I was referring to averages across the two mediums. You could always find examples that deviate. For example, a gum bichromate is created more like a photograph, but out of materials that more closely relate to paintings. It spans the divide between the two.

    As for the differences regarding the number of subjects, it’s not uncommon for a painting to tell a story from multiple viewpoints at once. For instance, “The Tribute Money” by Massacio shows Peter three times. It tells a story at three different points in time and space, each with a new representation of Peter. This fluidity of time and space is common in paintings, yet in photography, it’s quite rare.

    Of course one can always point to examples that run counter to my arguement, but I’m confident that if you were to average them out, you’d find a higher percentage of multiple subjects in paintings than in photographs.

    Another common difference is surface texture and color. Paintings will often be much more liberal with their colors and surface textures. Impasto, is very difficult to achieve in photography (though carbon transfer prints offer a possible counter arguement), but it’s a common feature in many modern styles. Painters will also often take greater liberty with color than photographers. Something might be represented in a false color in a painting, or composed of strange colors not actually present in the scene while maintaining a full color range. For example, study the underpaintings of just about any one of Rembrandt’s portraits. There are usually many colors such as purples, blues, pinks, and yellows that you wouldn’t actually find on a person. But by his deft use of these colors, he gives the skin a greater sense of realism and sense of life, while simultaneously making them technically less colored like real skin.

    Another difference is abstraction. It’s rare in photographs to the point that some people have argued that true abstraction in a photograph is impossible. I wouldn’t go that far, in fact I think you could make a truly abstract photo by just about anyone’s definition by avoiding a lens and playing with the developing chemicals. Justine Varga made quite a stir when she won $20k for a photo made from spit and scratches. Though she claimed it was a photo of her grandmother, so it might not be a true abstract photo (depending on your definition). But it proves the possibility. Abstract paintings, in my opinion, aren’t rare enough.

    The lists of similarities and differences go on and on.

    So my point isn’t that one is superior to the other, or that there are things that can be accomplished in one that are impossible in the other, but rather that the two are often approached differently. That’s why I often like to look towards painters for inspiration rather than other photographers, because, to me, it offers a more unique perspective on the medium. I didn’t mean it as an indictment on photography, but rather just to say that I try to make photographs that are more unique than the majority of photographs already out there, and following what other photographers have done before me makes that goal more difficult to achieve. That’s just my personal approach and style.

  3. #23
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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Jim Thanks for your thoughts. I think photography is limited because you're capturing a slice of "reality" that's already been created rather than creating it from start. Which reminds me of the difference I once read between artists and photographers. An artist starts with a blank canvas and fills in only the things that will make his picture "pop". Whereas the photographer starts with a messy and completed canvas and has to figure out how to remove the stuff that weakens his image. In many respects, it's harder to get a photo correct and "great" than a painting, leaving aside the ability to paint, which I don't have.

  4. #24

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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Jim Thanks for your thoughts. I think photography is limited because you're capturing a slice of "reality" that's already been created rather than creating it from start. Which reminds me of the difference I once read between artists and photographers. An artist starts with a blank canvas and fills in only the things that will make his picture "pop". Whereas the photographer starts with a messy and completed canvas and has to figure out how to remove the stuff that weakens his image. In many respects, it's harder to get a photo correct and "great" than a painting, leaving aside the ability to paint, which I don't have.
    I absolutely agree. I’ve been painting for about 20 years now and have only been doing serious photography for the last 3. My fiancÚ introduced me to photography (she’s a photographer) and what drew me to photography was the ability to sell prints for far less money than paintings. Some of my paintings have cost me over $300 in materials, and I may spend 6 months working on one (a layer of oil paint can take a long time to dry and drying agents can change the look). So that’s a huge investment and it can be difficult finding a buyer (especially in this area) at the prices I must charge. Photography gives me the ability to still create visual art works, but with the ability to print and reprint photos with relative ease and speed, so I can charge a lot less and sell a lot more.

    And I have found photography to be much more difficult than painting for precisely the reasons you mentioned. If you don’t like the light or find an element distracting in a painting, you simply change it. With photography, it’s a lot more difficult to alter the scene. You can do a lot in the computer, but inkjet prints just aren’t as much fun, and the skill with one isn’t very well appreciated by potential buyers.

    Of course the other down side to photography is everyone thinks they can do it, and most people don’t know enough to know what a good photo even looks like, let alone how to take one. With painting, it’s the opposite. Everyone says they can’t draw and seems to think you have to be born with the talent. They don’t understand it’s a learned skill and virtually anyone can draw well, assuming they’re willing to put the time and effort into it. In both situations, the general public just doesn’t know enough to know what they don’t know. And that’s the real problem with art. The general public can only recognize technical skill, and that gets mistaken for good art, when good art goes far beyond just technical skill.

  5. #25

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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Jim Thanks for your thoughts. I think photography is limited because you're capturing a slice of "reality" that's already been created rather than creating it from start. Which reminds me of the difference I once read between artists and photographers. An artist starts with a blank canvas and fills in only the things that will make his picture "pop". Whereas the photographer starts with a messy and completed canvas and has to figure out how to remove the stuff that weakens his image. In many respects, it's harder to get a photo correct and "great" than a painting, leaving aside the ability to paint, which I don't have.
    More simply is that artist/painters etc start with a single line, and add more lines start to create forms, and a drawing becomes more and more complicated until it reaches the point of chaos... Photography starts with chaos, and we reduce this down to lines that are "compositional" and decide how minimal or complex we want it to be...

    This is something I figured out many years ago, when I restarted photography after a break in my teens... I had taken the only art class available in the area, that was a fashion figure drawing class... I noticed a reverse in the approach...

    Other training was engineering drafting where the concern was the skeleton of the object... That taught me to see the "skeleton" of things, consider them form, find the axis that they can be "rotated", and considered the "flesh" and surfaces secondary to it...

    Then I found that light can reveal these forms...

    Steve K

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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by jim10219 View Post
    Another difference is abstraction. It’s rare in photographs to the point that some people have argued that true abstraction in a photograph is impossible. I wouldn’t go that far, in fact I think you could make a truly abstract photo by just about anyone’s definition by avoiding a lens and playing with the developing chemicals. Justine Varga made quite a stir when she won $20k for a photo made from spit and scratches. Though she claimed it was a photo of her grandmother, so it might not be a true abstract photo (depending on your definition). But it proves the possibility. Abstract paintings, in my opinion, aren’t rare enough.
    If you're interested in abstract photography, it's out there and it's a pretty big rabbit hole to follow.
    Coburn (vortographs), Stieglizt, the dadaism movement, surrealism, Siskind, and many tamer photographers with abstract themes now..
    Many abstract photos do not look like abstract photos. Abstract paintings stand out and are plentiful as you mention.

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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by jim10219 View Post
    ... And that’s the real problem with art. The general public can only recognize technical skill, and that gets mistaken for good art, when good art goes far beyond just technical skill.
    Hope you don't mind me picking your brain. But, what beyond technical skill makes good art and how do you apply that to your photography?

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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    ...
    I would say some photographs do not have a subject in the normal sense and that's OK too. I think style is borrowed both ways between painting and photography. Perhaps 120 years ago, much was borrowed from painting. Now, I see much photographic language in new paintings.
    Would you like to explain or give an example how photographic language is in paintings? Is it also about the chaos?

  9. #29
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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    Quote Originally Posted by germansaram View Post
    Would you like to explain or give an example how photographic language is in paintings? Is it also about the chaos?
    I don't have a complete answer, but perhaps a little bit now and a little bit later....

    In western art history, perspective is something that changes slowly and can almost be used to date a work or style. In the 1500's things started moving from a flat perspective to a 3d style and have become more varied in the last 100+ years. I think painting has adopted from photography the fisheye look and the telephoto look. One could argue the telephoto look is influenced by Japanese art, but we've had that popularly since the late 1800's and the telephoto look did not take off then. I think when it's used now, viewers associate it with a photographic style more than art history. Doesn't matter as much what the artist though but they could also be equally influenced by telephoto style of perspective from watching sports, nature photos, etc..

    Aerial views are something photography explored quicker and more thoroughly than painting. I think painting based on aerial views is derivative of photography (and that's OK) People like Coburn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A...rt_Project.jpg and the very early modern photographers like aerial views in the early part of the 20th century. In the late part of the 19th century and into the early 20th it became popular for factories to create birds eye view for calendars, letterhead, etc.. That quickly became a photographic process for practical reasons https://web.wpi.edu/academics/librar...y/Woodbury.PDF (sort of the opposite viewpoint of Lewis Hine)

    Stieglitz was amongst several making abstract photos of clouds; O'Keefe eventually painted clouds downwards, picking up abstract subject matter common to photography and the birds eye view. https://imgcs.artprintimages.com/img...-1248114-0.jpg

    Locally we have artists like Eric Hopkins very successfully painting local scenes with fisheye and telephoto aerial perspectives, something not common in traditional art history. I'd say it builds on photography and what people understand from aerial photographs both artistic and mapping. Most people appreciating this sort of thing do not regularly fly these locations. As a photographic style it's becoming immensely more popular with drone footage. Painting can only borrow from that and has a challenge to improve upon it.
    https://www.pinterest.com/garveyk413/eric-hopkins/

    I don't have any solid ideas worked out about chaos. It's common to both photography and painting and could have developed simultaneously in the styles making up early modern. To what extent it is symbiotic, I'm not sure, but it's possible. I think the well known masters of showing chaos in photography and painting are from different planets... I particularly like Eliot Porter's way of handling it in photography. I have a friend who practices non objective painting who can also pursue chaos in photography well too.

  10. #30
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    Re: Inspiration from other Media

    <snip snip snip >
    Quote Originally Posted by Shutter20 View Post
    ....

    Looking forward to your thoughts and would love to know what alternative media people here draw inspiration from!

    hi shutter20
    im inspired by pretty much anything done between around 1912 and the mid 1950s
    from russian constructivists to motherwell to the le corbusier ...
    have fun!
    john
    enjoy your coffee

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