I Didn’t Know
As I displayed a painting, someone said, “I didn’t know you were an artist.”
I smiled and asked in a kind way, “What? Photographer’s aren’t artists?”
Photography is all about art. The same concepts that make a painting look good apply to a photograph. The problem is, there are a lot of photographs out there that appeal to the emotion, and not the artistic eye.
For example, take a photograph of your grandchild. You might like it because you love your grandchild and looking at the photograph brings a rush of emotions surrounding that love for your grandchild.
The above picture is a typical snap shot. I like it because it reminds me of the sunset that night, and my sweet granddaughter. However, it is not a good picture from an artistic stand point. I’m sure if it were someone else’s grandchild they too would like it for the same reasons. However, there are a LOT of things wrong with it: too much contrast, subject is centered, bad juxtapositioning with the bush, the sky is blown out and I could go on.
Thus, people, because of snapshot photography, tend to think of photography as photography and not art. However, good photography is art.
As a painter, I cannot take a lousy photograph and turn it in to a beautiful painting. The rules of art must apply. The concept of garbage in = garbage out applies. This means if I want a beautiful painting based on one of my photographs, I must start with a beautiful photograph.
Here’s a recent award-winning photo and the painting that resulted:
In the above example, the picture of the cowboy is artistically good, but there are a few small distractions. I changed his coffee cup and I painted out the white paper plate in the foreground. (In the final version of the painting, I also removed the pen from his pocket.)
Both the photograph and the painting are art. We’re just used to calling paintings art, but I think when we see good photographs, we should call them art too.