Painting vs Photography

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by olivia_parsons, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. I am interested in discussing the ideas surrounding photography vs painting.
    Has photography taken over from painting?
  2. You will need to focus your question a bit more. It is to open-ended and not well enough defined.
    Of course, neither one or the other has supplanted the other, as they are two very different activities. You will likely get a lot of comments on this, but the answers will have little value without a more defined question on your part.
    You might instead ask, "Do collectors of figurative art prefer, at the same price level, photographic or brush painting representations of the same subject matter?"
    What in fact do you have in mind?
  3. I read a quote from Picasso, a while back. (Is this accurate?) "Now that photography has been invented, I can kill myself." Obviously he lived on, and continued to paint!
  4. Try "Art and Photography" by Aaron Scharf. It runs about 400 pages and contains a fair selection of all the thoughts that have ever been proposed on painting and photography from a historical and aesthetic perspective; definitely a basic study text if you want to go further.
  5. It's a big question with many answers. I don't like comparing the two. I know there are painters who would consider fine art photography as 2nd rate but Ansel Adams said he would be very happy to land 12 exceptional keepers in a years time. (paraphrased) That alone tells us that the skill level to reach the top is hard to achieve. I doubt many known painters could create more than 12 masterpieces a year nor could a song writer for that matter compose 12 hits in the same amount of time. Apples, oranges, pears.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There is no vs. They are two different things. Vs is for American Idol or that dance show.
  7. Painting and photography are not mutually exclusive areas of endeavor. Engaging in one does not preclude engaging in another.
    Photography does not need to "take over" from painting. Each stands on its own.
  8. Photography, painting in its various forms, sculpture, wood carving, clay, etc. are all just different mediums through which an artist may express their creative visions. None is better or worse than the other and none will ever supersede the other because art is by it's very nature subjective.
  9. "Painting Vs Photography" - I didn't know it was a fight! But if it's a popularity competition then painting is dead (now where have I heard that before?).
    We've all seen great paintings like the Mona Lisa or Van Gogh's Sunflowers, haven't we? Well, probably not. What most people have seen is a photographic reproduction of those paintings, not the "too precious to be seen in a decent light" originals.
    What photography has done is free painting and art in general from its servitude to wealthy and tasteless patrons, the vain and the church.
  10. Rodeo, apart from the fact that you throw in the bin all medieval and renaissance art, including your mentioned Mona Lisa with your last paragraph, and you seem to celebrate "free" art, like the Sunflowers painting of van Gogh, together with almost all modern paintings until at least the 1950s, your comment on photography as liberator does not make sense to me.
    By the way painting is far from being dead and much photography is far from being "free".
  11. Painting is more smelly, and you have to wash your hands more. However, oil paints leave a texture on the canvas which
    is very interesting to the eye. I love seeing Van Gogh's work up close. The three-dimensional texture of the paint amazes me.

    I'll admit that I can't paint or draw, unless you mean the random splattering of paint on canvas that passed as painting in
    the latter half of the 20th Century. So, to me, photography seems to be an easier path to a final image. Not easy, but
    easier. - A photographer can capture a thousand images in a day quite easily. Can an accomplished painter paint a thousand canvases in the same time? Would you hire a painter to document your wedding, scene by scene? On the surface, painting a canvas seems to involve a bit more effort.

    It occurs to me however that if I had spent as much time learning to paint as I have learning to make a half-decent photograph I
    might have been able to make half-decent paintings by now as well. Maybe I'll give the painting thing a serious try in my
    retirement, whenever that may come. I do love those textures, Mr. Van Gogh!
  12. painting is for walls. :) Seriously though- people still paint? Ha Ha Ha! Dead medium. I mean photography. :)
    Susan Sontag's "On Photography" is highly perceptive and still very relevant- even eerily current with digital.
    I don't remember who spoke about painting and photography (either Sontag or Marc Rothko, i think) but what they said was, "photography freed the painter". Until photography, the painting was the medium of choice for realism. You'll notice the change starting to really take in the mid to late 19th century. More recently, video freed the photographer. Photographers are welcome to make what ever type of images they want, as video is now the choice of people providing "realism".
    Where does this leave us? What gets more real- more fact based than video- less editable? 3D- multi-angle, multi-image, multi-light wave based imagery- not unlike from Hubble or something. The deal is this- do we need reality or not?
  13. In 1851 the painter, Paul Delaroche, upon his first seeing a photograph, said, "From today, painting is dead". Well, it didn't die and there are more painters today than in his day. Painting and photography are two vastly different media, and photography is a valid medium in its own right, that is, it is not a substitute for painting. When photography arrived on the scene, painting, in the sense of just recording an accurate likeness, was redundant and so it changed, ushering in Impressionism and everything that followed from that.
  14. A painter takes a blank canvas and fills it with interesting things, good light all in a nice composition. The photographer takes a canvas already filled with many wrongs things he tries to eliminate if possible, often bad lighting and tries to assemble it in a pleasing and interesting composition.
    In many respects, taking a good photo is much harder than painting. The painter creates the reality he wants while the photographer has to find it.
    I hope these thoughts cheer up all of you who think they are finding it hard to get an outstanding photo. It is hard.
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The photographer takes a canvas already filled with many wrongs things he tries to eliminate if possible, often bad lighting and tries to assemble it in a pleasing and interesting composition.​
    I don't agree with this at all. I often start with nothing and fill the scene. I pick places, or lack of places (blank backdrop) and put the elements in it. What you have said has nothing to do with the difference between painting and photography as I'm hardly the first person to do this.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Just to give an example, here is a photographer, one whose work I love, who creates everything she shoots. Note that this is NSFW. Cirenaica Moreira
  17. Jeff, I was refering to general outdoor photography not photography where the scene is setup in a studio as in the example you presented. But you make a good point. There is some photography that does parallel painting in starting with a blank canvas. It's just not the usual situation. But even with that kind of photography you have issues the painter doesn't. Is the model's clothes wrinkled? Is the makeup proper? The painter doesn't have to deal with that.
    It's worse for the rest of us none studio photographers. We're stuck with exposure isues like skies burning out against too dark foregrounds. We have to use graduated neutral density filters to make the picture work. Or we find when we look at the picture in our computer that somehow that "damn" branch or utility cable we didn't see wound up cutting across the scene and ruining the composition. The painter doesn't have to deal with that. He just creates the brightness with his paint and leaves out things that don't belong.
    I think Photoshop and other programs are giving us some of the tools of the painter. But ultimately the best photos have to start with the right shot when exposed. And most scenes have problems that are hard to overcome so the shot "fails". Maybe that's the way it's suppose to be. If we all made perfect shots all the time, it would get boring. There would be no reason to keep trying and advancing.
  18. photography started out as drawings
    the history of photography started out with a tool known as a camera obscura (still used today in modern camera). it was the phenomenon of turning that landscape scene into light but during then they couldn't record that light, since the technology of daguerreotypes was not invented yet. so what did they do? they put a piece of paper overlaying that light and drawn over it. Now i am not sure if they painted it on top afterwards but its a possibility.
    but its apples to oranges here. they are both here to stay. i can't say much for painting as i don't know much about it.
    but what was so fascinating about photography is that it brings balance (balance is the key to everything that we do) . Balance from the real vs fake. Cause if you paint a landscape the person viewing it can still question whether that scene is real or not. But with photography it is still real in essence cause it was captured in that moment. The person seeing it will know that that place actually exist. You don't have to outdoor to paint a landscape scene, you do with photography.
    in addition to this balance, photography turns 3d into 2d. life size into smaller or bigger size. and color into black and white. You see, reality is changed in photography but yet there is a balance cause you know that thing that you photographed exist. but as with any other medium you don't get this balance.
  19. After considering this subject for a number of years I have to believe that painting remains far superior to photography for its ability to provoke emotion and what has often been described as "the aesthetic response." The early critique of photography centered on the belief that it was "machine made," and that seems to be ever more true with the advent of electronic capture. Generally, photos seem "dead" no matter how good they are, while paintings tend to remain "alive."

Share This Page