Why do I recall paintings much more readily than photographs?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by falcon7, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. I can easily conjure up thoughts and images and feelings about Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' or 'Self-Portrait' or Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' or Duchamp 'Nude Descending a Staircase,' -- all paintings. But when it comes to photographs, even by my favorite photographer (which is probably Irving Penn), I have to make a real effort to imagine one. Is this generally true about painting vs. photography? Could it be because I've 'learned' that painting is a higher form of 'art' than photography and if I had been taught the opposite the opposite would be the case? Could it be that painters are more romanticized and written about and are considered as contributing more significantly to world culture and history-- Do you have any ideas I haven't listed?
     
  2. Alan: let's face it, Van Gogh is a big world of content and quality away from Penn, not to denigrate the Noble Irving. Yes painting is the higher art form, though no doubt there are thousands of photographers ready to hang me now! I approach the question without prejudice, having been a painter since 1954, and a photographer since '66.
     
  3. Painters have 20,000 or so more years of inertia behind them and the recognition of their art as such. By comparison, photography was invented yesterday.

    Still, I find that both painters and photographers produce mountains of utterly forgettable stuff every day. I can summon up a collection of across-the-centuries classics that leap to mind when I think of paintings, but I'd have to really work hard to think of as many paintings made in the last 35 years that have impacted me as profoundly as many photographs I've encountered in that same period. It all depends what you go out looking for, and who you hang out with.
     
  4. I tend to remember paintings and photographs equally well.
     
  5. I tend to remember paintings and photographs equally well.
     
  6. jtk

    jtk

    I'm still thinking about a pair of 50" square (or so) inkjets by a Cuban woman, seen yesterday in the Albuquerque Museum. B&W, nothing but corners of two mouths (one unshaven). I love Van Gogh, but I recall the smell of his paintings in a show many years ago, more readily than the images. Think Proust. Photographers rarely pretend the significance of individual images as much as do curators of paintings. Its' easy to remember several of Ansel Adams' photos (Moonrise, Half Dome), but I don't care as much for them as for his less famous snapshot of Georgia O'Keefe on motorcycle, or those big square Cuban inkjets. I made a woman's portrait, her paintings leap to mind, and simultaneously I almost wish she'd "liked" my colorful, harshly lit results.
     
  7. I think as most of us grew up, we were much more exposed to paintings as an art form than photography. If you took any art history, 99% of it focused on famous paintings and sculptures with maybe a day of photography thrown in. You only really got immersed into photography, if you actually took photography classes, even then the forced memorization of photographs was much less a focal point. IMHO the art is the finished product and one form is not superior to the next.
     
  8. To the “Do you have any ideas I haven't listed?” question, two immediately occur to me ...
    One I don't particularly believe, but it may well be true: that it's because painting has a twelve thousand year head start on photography :)
    Another, which I do believe although with no evidence to back it up: that it's because different people have different types of memory. I remember photographs and paitings equally well and/or equally badly, but with music I can reply in my head in CD quality anything with a vocal component (whether Bach or Bee Gees) but have great difficult pulling up favourites which are purely instrumental.
     
  9. If anything, I remember photos better than I remember paintings. It's probably because I analyze interesting photos more thoroughly than I analyze paintings.
    I don't think that it's generally true that paintings are more-easily remembered than photos.
     
  10. Possibly you (Alan G.) have different expectations of you memories of photographs. Because they are (supposed to be) "copies" of reality, you may expect to be able to find much more detail in a photograph and in memory of a photograph than you do in memory of a painting.
    However, this is never true. Both in your memories of a painting of a tiger and your memories of a photograph of a tiger, you cannot count its stripes.
     
  11. Do people still paint?
    Joking of course, I seem to remember a famous painting as well as a famous photo.
    Just like "Kleenex" is a brand name and not a "tissue" we seem to remember icons better than items.
     
  12. "Could it be because I've 'learned' that painting is a higher form of 'art' than photography and if I had been taught the opposite the opposite would be the case?. (Alan)
    Possibly, but you can also unlearn those paradigms. What we are taught is only an appreciation and we should be taught to come to our own conclusions after having been exposed to many diverse creations and knowledge. We used to learn that pure science was more noble an activity than applied science, that an artist is superior to a craftsperson, that federal politics is a higher art and activity than regional or municipal politics, that in painting oils are superior to acrylics or watercolours, that stone sculptures are superior to wood or bronze (cast) scuptures (or vice versa), that mechanical Swiss watches were (are) better than quartz watches, that French or Italian cuisine is superior to British or American cuisine, and so on, and so on.
    With a little experience one often comes to the conclusion that such paradigms of thought or taste are just that. There are many photographs (Penn represents an extremely limited output of photography) that are better than many paintings, and there are many paintings that are better than many photographs. It all depends on the artist chosen and his or her best works. And individual taste.
     
  13. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    When I read the header question before opening the thread, Starry Night flashed in my brain! Now I keep seeing Moonrise in Yosemite...there like songs that keep playing in my head. So, I seem to recall both equally. OK, so now I've got Miserlou by Dick Dale accompaning Moonrise!
     
  14. There are far fewer paintings for a given artist due to the time it takes to create a painting, as opposed to a photographer who can turn out far more pieces in a much shorter time. That is, by the way, why I went back to photography. It's easier.

    Paintings are too hard. - Andy Warhol

    Bill P.
     
  15. Much to consider. Hmmmm....well...all these reflections sound legitimiate. I do know I have two Ansel Adams posters (of his photographs) in one of my rooms, and I although I vaguely know what the subject matters are -- trees and leaves -- I'm not even sure which one is on the left and which is on the right. However, they were gifts so they're displayed more so I don't insult the person who gave them to me than the fact that I find them rewarding in any other way. I guess it's just me, or as Kant so 'brilliantly' stated in his 'Critique of Judgment,' "That which is pleasing is that which is pleasing for me." I'm assuming he said more profound things.
     
  16. Why do I recall paintings much more readily than photographs?​
    Maybe it's as simple as you like paintings better than photographs.
     
  17. jtk

    jtk

    In painting, as with every enterprise, mediocrity, even badness, dominates. Mediocre painters rework so much that they call the work hard. Bad photographers also dominate...but whats the point of such a comparison? Preening, insecurity. Good photography is as rare as good painting, but painters get away with more than photographers can. To disagree you'd have to keep score.
    I love Warhol's work, but it wasn't "hard." It was mass produced. I saw literally 50 identical (but for color, which was nearly random) Warhols at DIA Gallery in Beacon, NY. He was into photocopying, and paintings based on photocopies. Easy. He didn't find painting "hard," no matter what he said.
    You can see Picasso work on film: Drawings flowed from him with amazing ease. As they probably do with all good painters. Can't draw? Most painters can't. If they could draw they'd draw or etch. They paint because they can't draw. Disagree? It's just your opinion...unless you have statistics :)
    Many drawings and approximations led up to Guernica, and Ipresumably it was an emotional labor for him, but I suspect that each element was easy by itself. I've seen a hundred of those elements.
     
  18. There are far fewer paintings for a given artist due to the time it takes to create a painting, as opposed to a photographer who can turn out far more pieces in a much shorter time. That is, by the way, why I went back to photography. It's easier. Paintings are too hard. - Andy Warhol​
    The degree of difficulty is directly proportional to the amount of work you're willing to expend. A quote by Warhol in support of your statement is unimpressive as one can find a quote to support whatever thesis is put forth.
    Warhol was a self promoter in the PT Barnum mold, and statements made by him were made as much for shock value as true value...
    "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Andy Warhol, 1968.

    Perhaps we're just not far enough into the future, or maybe Warhol was just promoting himself one more time... with either statement
     
  19. jtk

    jtk

    Running Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey is probably harder than painting or photography.
     
  20. Running Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey is probably harder than painting or photography.​
    Lions, and tigers, and bears...oh, my. Not to mention the clowns...they're the real problem.
     
  21. Steve Swinehart , Feb 03, 2010; 04:33 p.m.
    There are far fewer paintings for a given artist due to the time it takes to create a painting, as opposed to a photographer who can turn out far more pieces in a much shorter time. That is, by the way, why I went back to photography. It's easier. Paintings are too hard. - Andy Warhol
    The degree of difficulty is directly proportional to the amount of work you're willing to expend.
    So you're saying that if you're willing to expend more work, the degree of difficulty increases all by itself.
    A quote by Warhol in support of your statement is unimpressive as one can find a quote to support whatever thesis is put forth.
    Yeah, right, good to know. Like the statement you just made makes any sense.
    Why would anyone listen to a world renowned graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology?
    Silly me.
    Bill P.
     
  22. jtk

    jtk

    Steve S consistently addresses questions in interesting ways, not necessarily in a way that I always like but always in ways that are always instructive or stimulating. He isn't a braggart.
    He's said a few things that confirm for me that he's intensely well-educated in some of the matters that are of interest here, such as print making. And he's man enough to speak from his own experience...he doesn't rely on the purported fame of his great aunt, parents, former neighbors, or very strange barber.
    Quoting Warhol on how hard he finds painting, is especially tiresome when the same person relies so totally on it to frame his posts.
    Many of us know from experience with his work that Warhe didn't use that statement honestly, not in any way that connected to his own "artistic" reality (a PR business). He didn't call it a "Factory" for nothing. When that "painting is hard" quote is used it reflects ignorance.
     
  23. jtk

    jtk

    Here's the most significant intellectual/artistic material related to "Andy Warhol."
    If you have animated and curious kids or grandkids, of if you're personally literate and have a sense of humor, you'll love this.
    http://www.warhola.com/uncleandys.html
     
  24. Yeah, right, good to know. Like the statement you just made makes any sense.
    Why would anyone listen to a world renowned graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology?
    Silly me.​
    William, why is it that you consistently subsitute your purported education for original thinking? For some reason, you're under the impression that merely graduating from an art school makes your statements more important and insightful than other people's ideas.
    My reaction? You went to art school? BFD. Tens of millions of people have been to art school. This is getting to be a little bit like the cartoon character "The Tick" stating - "Look at me, I'm doing laundry!"
    So, if bona fides are what impress you and make your statements more important than any one elses - I have a degree in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, I have a degree in graphic design from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, I have a degree in art from the University of New Mexico, and I spent a year in the lithographic Master Printer Program at Tamarind Institute (and there are only about 600 people in the world that can make that claim).
    So, using your education metric as the basis for importance in a discussion, as far as I can tell, that makes my statements 3 to 4 times as perceptive as your statements. Rather than leaning on your background as a constant crutch and trotting it out whenever you run out of ideas, why don't work on orginal thinking and when you come up with something new or novel - post that...
     
  25. So you're saying that if you're willing to expend more work, the degree of difficulty increases all by itself.​
    The degree of difficulty is not in the process of making a piece of art, but in the thought process about what to make and how to make the piece of art. You're conflating process with idea - I'm not surprised.
    To directly adress your statements about photography being easier than painting - why is it that many watercolorists can easily do a watercolor in 30 minutes? I had a friend who regularly finished 4-5 paintings a week as he had to keep his galleries supplied. Then there was the "art factory" in Detroit that several of my friends worked at in the early '70's that cranked out 200 - 300 "original paintings" a week using a production system of specialists - a person did skies, another trees, another buildings, another people, etc. Then of course there's Bob Ross, I regulary saw Bob finish an entire painting in 30 minutes every week on PBS.
    Your statements never seem to hold up when examined carefully. I've spent weeks on a single photograph to get it "just right." For one piece I spent nearly three months. In fact, I've spent years on single photograph going back to the same location to photograph it to get everything correct in expressing a certain idea and feeling. Ansel Adams spent nearly an entire lifetime perfecting "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico."
    Photography is what you make of it. Give it a try...
     
  26. Bruce- ' let's face it, Van Gogh is a big world of content and quality away from Penn, not to denigrate the Noble Irving. Yes painting is the higher art form, though no doubt there are thousands of photographers ready to hang me now! I approach the question without prejudice, having been a painter since 1954, and a photographer since '66.'
    That's a joke.
     
  27. John Kelly [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 03, 2010; 07:29 p.m.
    Steve S consistently addresses questions in interesting ways, not necessarily in a way that I always like but always in ways that are always instructive or stimulating. He isn't a braggart.
    He's said a few things that confirm for me that he's intensely well-educated in some of the matters that are of interest here, such as print making. And he's man enough to speak from his own experience...he doesn't rely on the purported fame of his great aunt, parents, former neighbors, or very strange barber.
    You're off-topic.
    Bring in on, John.
    Man up.
    Bill P.
     
  28. Alan-
    You can remember 3 paintings and 0 photographs. I think you should be more concerned about your fleeting memory:) Either way, memory is the true thing we're talking about. If you choose to remember photographs, you will remember them, if you choose to remember paintings, you will remember them and so it goes with math, language, cooking, names, cars, traveling.........
     
  29. Steve Swinehart , Feb 04, 2010; 09:08 a.m.
    So you're saying that if you're willing to expend more work, the degree of difficulty increases all by itself.
    To directly adress your statements about photography being easier than painting - why is it that many watercolorists can easily do a watercolor in 30 minutes?
    Because they know their craft.
    I can easily do a photograph in 30 seconds. You have to know where to look and what to shoot.
    I've spent weeks on a single photograph to get it "just right."
    You spend weeks on one photograph?
    You're kidding, right?
    WEEKS?
    How bad could it have been to start with?
    Here's a suggestion.
    Go out and re-shoot the photograph correctly in the first place.
    NO photo should take weeks in the edit room.
    Bill P.
     
  30. Steve Swinehart , Feb 04, 2010; 08:45 a.m.
    William, why is it that you consistently subsitute your purported education for original thinking?
    My reaction? You went to art school? BFD.
    Yeah, that's the reation I usually get from you REAL thinkers.
    Off topic with nowhere to go.
    Bill P.
     
  31. I'm going to make a suggestion, then (as an effort to practice what I preach) cut off this thread and walk away.
    Several of us (and I do mean "us" − myself included) have, here and in another place which preceded this one, said things which are not particularly useful. My suggestion is that everypne take a deep breath, ignore what has been said, and draw a line under it − either by returning to the original question and starting afresh or it.
    See you in another place, I hope.
     
  32. My feeling is that Julie has the answer - even in the most 'photographic' painting, the amount of detail is incredibly small compared to a photograph of the same thing (no painter is going to paint every individual leaf on a tree, whereas a decent photgraph may well capture to that level of detail)
    I suspect the brain cannot hold the level of detail of a photograph on a single image, therefore the whole image becomes 'blurred' in the memory, and thus easily forgotten...
     
  33. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    I think the memorability of painting over photography is a trick of perspective. There are a lot more paintings in the usual places we go to venerate art because painting has a longer history. Julie's comments about the detail in photographs over painting --yes. Paintings are the creation of a memory and the finished product is a second order visualization. Photography is somewhat different in that it's a selection of time.
    Taking week for a photograph seems rather plausible -- sometimes, you know what you want to get, but the light on any given day isn't quite right, or you take a picture and see future possibilities in it, and so while there are snapshots of the future picture done in seconds, the final photograph isn't there yet.
    I remember both painting and photographs. I couldn't count the hairs on "Mrs. Duckworth" though.
    The thing with educations is they can be probing into what's real, learning the structure of things we normally are intuitive about (almost all humans are good at intuitive calculus, fewer can work it out on paper). Or they can be indoctrinations into cultural and class beliefs. Most are something of a mix between the two.
     
  34. Felix Grant [​IMG], Feb 04, 2010; 10:25 a.m.

    See you in another place, I hope.
    Felix, I'm with you.
    The O/P was....."Why do I recall paintings much more readily than photographs", not.... "Let's challenge Bill P.'s education", which most of these "forums" degenerate into pretty quickly.
    To quote you, "See you in another place, I hope."
    Bill P.
     
  35. Well, painting has been around for longer, stands to reason that it should have made more of a contribution.
     
  36. Most art critics will tell you that paintings often evoke more emotion than photographs. Photos, for the most part, unless heavily Photoshopped, are literal. Paintings are interpretations by the artist and are considered by most to be a higher art form.
     
  37. "Photos, for the most part, unless heavily Photoshopped, are literal." (Scott)
    Photoshop is only one way to modify what you refer to as "literal" in an image. More often than not, I think, in the hands of new users it is badly utilised, and not often equal to the skills of good artists in transferring to a canvas the "non-literal" images that their mind creates (personal perceptions of a scene or event). As time goes on, the use of Photoshop will no doubt improve and will be used in a deterrministic and creative way, but more subtely than at present. But that is a different discussion.
    There is much photography that equals the best painting in terms of communicating emotion or some aesthetic ideal, which are often thought of as the particuar "forte" of painting. Good black and white photography has shown how expressive and abstract the medium can be. The non literalness of many examples are equal to the best of painting. Certain photographers have mastered such expressiveness in color as well, although like a Van Gogh image of humans or a Goya image of the shooting of prisoners, or those of the martyrdom of Jean de Brébeuf at the hands of the Iroquois (or Hurons?), the number of such paintings, like excellent photos, are in the minority.
    Much painting is not literal, but can be decorative and quite boring. Sometimes I wish my painter friends would have the eyes of good photographers in isolating meaningful compositions or events. Too often, like many everyday photographs, the results are merely pretty or representational, without attempting to say more.
    But that is not to question the potential of painting or photography, only its practitioners.
     
  38. Without responding to the sidetracks, and the discussion about what a photograph does or does not do, I think I could submit that the process of making a painting - a kind of drawn out visual discovery - is part of the reason why paintings are often (not always) evocative of our memories more than photographs. Since the painter has to discover and record each detail and shape, color, texture individually and then intentionally record them, the viewer is invited to share that experience.
    Oddly enough, I believe photography can operate much the same way.
     
  39. Interesting discussion! Perhaps ‘recall’ is not the right word. There are paintings as well as photographs that I remember equally well. However, my respond upon seeing Starry Night vs. Moonrise is quite different. Perhaps I am responding not only to the contents of the image, but more to the artist’s emotion conveyed by the image, which to my eyes is quite different between these two works.
    In Starry Night, I sense a great deal of the fore-thought and emotional involvement. In Moonrise, I find myself visualizing Adams quickly setting up his tripods to capture the scene, granted that he spent enormous amount of time in the darkroom afterward to print the image. By that token, a snap shooter who shoots first and picks the best shots later would have the least emotional investment with the subject, and the least impact on the viewer.
     
  40. It's not that we remember them differently, some stuff just won't let us forget it.
    Maybe size matters too.
     
  41. I think it's time for a doctoral study on this subject... it would be fascinating research and could lead to interesting understanding of memory and 'art'... and then some quiet speaking historian could do the TV special.
     
  42. For the OP, I would have said that all three of the paintings listed were unified by having a simplified tonal range. Each of the three has five main sets of tones, and a contrasty pattern to their distribution. The tones make for depth.
    Maybe you like the use of the tones. The average black and white photo will be more grayscale; it'll have a more subtle graduation in the distribution of tones. Perhaps you are a tonalist.
    If you think that way, maybe you are taking to those kinds of illustrations.
    The Irving Penn, photos, too, have at most five main tones. The very famous photo, with the woman in the hat with the veil over her face, is largely comprised of two tones, but also holds an identifiable five.
    The OP likes illustrations with five main groups of tones.
     
  43. Painting is a pure creation no matter what the outcome is. Photography in the best case is dokumentation of the observaton process. Some people see more than others. Some people do not understand what they see. Some people are down to the earth and see the earth surface. Photography is important.
     
  44. Painters have tremendous freedom over the composition, and color and hence, the psychology of the painted image.
    Photographers are bound to photograph what exists. Photographers are limited in expressing the same psychology.
     
  45. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    Carey Moulton, this is only true of the last 150 years. Painting in the West attempted to do things as realistically as possible and artists invented photography as a way of drawing more accurately.
    Non-European traditions had various other aims, apparently.
    I suspect it's easier for most people to remember a good photograph than to remember an abstract painting, however moved we may be before such a painting. I like Jackson Pollock, but my memory of Pollock is not as detailed as my memory of the photograph of the children running into Lake Tanganyika that made Henri Cartier Bresson realize photography could be an art. The Dubuffet I remember best is a cow in the Museum of Modern Art, not the sculpture in Philadelphia, which I've seen more recently.
     
  46. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 04, 2010; 07:28 p.m.
    ....the painter has to discover and record each detail and shape, color, texture individually and then intentionally record them, the viewer is invited to share that experience.
    Oddly enough, I believe photography can operate much the same way.
    Tom, nothing odd about it. Fine art photography works that way, and without retouching. That's what it's all about.
    Bill P.
     
  47. Bill - " Fine art photography works that way, and without retouching. That's what it's all about."
    Bill, my friend, I don't want to get into an argument or cross swords with you on here, but I would like to say the following: If you know Art History, then you know that retouching in art goes back at least to the cave paintings. It's normal, commonplace and accepted (with a few notable exceptions).
    You sound like you're an early 20th century photographer reacting to Pictorialism. It is true that more than a few people, myself included, have referred to heavily manipulated digital work as Neo-Pictorialism, and maybe you're reacting to that. There's nothing wrong with your statement, as long as you're speaking about yourself. Art is about much more than that.
    By the very act of shooting JPEGs, specially if using the default settings on your trusty D70, you're allowing Nikon programs to retouch your work generically with no input from you.
     
  48. If you're over 60 the words "Flag Raising on Iwo Jima" will bring an image to mind that's every bit as memorable as any painting.
    If it doesn't, see: http://www.montney.com/marine/iwo.htm
     
  49. Photographers are bound to photograph what exists. Photographers are limited in expressing the same psychology.​
    That's like saying that painters are bound to paint what doesn't exist and are therefore limited in showing and expressing something significant. Neither of those statements are true.
    If I put my mind to it I have absolutely no problem to remember and visualise lots and lots of photographs, including all the ones here on photo.net that I found interesting enough to look into, and not only at.
    As for the original question, here's another one : Why do I recall that annoying radio commercial more readily than Mozart ? Maybe I forgot to remember to forget.
     
  50. Luis G [​IMG], Feb 05, 2010; 10:21 a.m.
    ....retouching in art goes back at least to the cave paintings. It's normal, commonplace and accepted (with a few notable exceptions).
    You're right one one level, but let's not assume that most ALL paintings have been retouched. I'd say that most haven't been retouched at all. The masters did not have to go over and over their works to get them right. Those guys packed the skills.
    By the very act of shooting JPEGs, specially if using the default settings on your trusty D70, you're allowing Nikon programs to retouch your work generically with no input from you.
    Setting the initial parameters, in software, whether in JPEG, NEF, RAW, is NOT retouching!
    My input is to take a correct photograph on location.
    Somebody has to make the initioal decisions, or the files would be unreadable. It's a common misconception that JPEG can not be adjusted for common darkroom procedures like setting the brightness, contrast, etc. JPEG absolutely allows for those adjustments. Those are common "test strip" procedures and in no way constitute retouching.
    I am shooting in other data formats now, but not for the generally accepted reasons of "more dynamic range so I can make more mistakes and fix 'em later" blab.
    I get annoyed with the JPEG artifacting that becomes apparent in larger print formats, that's all.
    I still take pride in getting the image correct at the front element, with no "dodging, burning", etc.
    Bill P.
     
  51. Bill P. I have to compliment you on a work ethic well applied "I still take pride in getting the image correct..." This is as it should be... some are better at that than others, some have a gift and some flail all their lives (I paint, photograph and swim using the flail technique I'm afraid).
    A point of order about retouching... in painting, that is a specific term of art to do with restoration. Also called "in painting". If the artist does it, it is called "work in progress" and is not uncommon. Xrays often reveal significant changes in composition in some old master paintings. In other cases, such as Andrew Wyeth, the image seems to flow from the brush so long as the attention is directed there, and once the attention goes elsewhere, it just turns into brushstrokes that don't convey the image. Wyeth in fact had a very marked gift for that.
     
  52. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 05, 2010; 12:27 p.m.
    Bill P. I have to compliment you on a work ethic well applied "I still take pride in getting the image correct..." This is as it should be... some are better at that than others, some have a gift and some flail all their lives (I paint, photograph and swim using the flail technique I'm afraid).
    Tom, thank you for appreciating my work ethic.
    I'm still marvelling at your "bottles" collection.
    Thanks also for calrifying the definitions as applied to painting, etc.
    Yes, sometimes the masters did change the compostion, etc., and it leads me to wonder how much of it was due to client input. Paintings were often used as "family portraits" are today, and a particular duke may not have wanted to look as portly as he actually was, etc.
    We'll probably never know for sure.
    Bill P.
     
  53. As some other's here I am also a painter and photographer and have been both on and off for 30 years. I like photography better because it is more immediately satisfying (I don’t have the world's longest attention span). But if I come up with a good painting I feel 10 times more permanent satisfaction. It feels like the struggle to come up with a good painting is so much more than a decent (although maybe not excellent) photo, even after using Photoshop heavily on the photo in a creative way. Its actually mentally exhausting to get all the way through a painting, which may take weeks to think about and execute.
    I also agree with another here who said not many paintings in the last 35 years come to mind. I would say more like 50 years! We all seem to remember the great master's paintings better than anything in the modern times. As well we sometimes remember the style more than any one painting, as in Picasso. Honestly I can’t recall one major photo other than some in old Life Magazines. I have no idea who took the photos. I will look at members of photo.net photos and think "good lord that's good, this person is extremely talented!" But there are so many photographers that I forget who did what eventually. Maybe that’s it; there are SO many good photographers and not that many good painters.
     
  54. Mark Jordan [​IMG], Feb 05, 2010; 01:05 p.m.
    I like photography better because it is more immediately satisfying....
    Mark, I'm with you.
    To quote myself.....
    ....That is, by the way, why I went back to photography. It's easier.

    Paintings are too hard. - Andy Warhol

    Bill P.
    Bill P.
     
  55. Bill, I want you to know I also appreciate and respect your work ethic. From shooting slides for decades before switching to digital, I'm quite familiar with it, and still do as much as I can at the front end.
     
  56. Phylo, I was suggesting that painters have freedom, they are not bound in the same way as photographers, who usually shoot what is presented to them...
     
  57. I like photography better because it is more immediately satisfying....​
    Strange, I often feel that photography as a process is not immediately satisfying, of course working a lot with film, but also with digital there is still a lot of intermission and space between idea to execution to the photograph / image as a vehicle for satisfying a creative urge. That's why I sometimes wish for an entirely different process, for the immediacy of paint appearing on a blanc canvas or sounds emerging from a musicinstrument...and to just let it all out at once, because with photography you must let it in first.
     

  58. I was suggesting that painters have freedom,are not bound in the same way as photographers, who usually shoot what is presented to them...​
    Usually. And then you have photographers who also shoot in a way that best shows what they want to present instead of only shooting what is presented to them.
     
  59. Related to what Bill P was talking about...
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-greenfieldsanders/please-dont-retouch-me_b_448165.html
     
  60. Interesting observation! I think I'd have to agree with the OP's premise even though I'm not sure why it happens.
    The surface of a painting is textured. The surface of a photograph is flat by comparison. Might this make a difference?
    Famous paintings are often quite large, several feet on a side. Even what we consider to be a large photographic print (40x50) is diminutive by comparison.
    Paintings are rarely done in monochrome. Black and white photography looks "dreary" compared to a brightly-colored painting.
    There is a built-in prejudice. Paintings are perceived to be the product of considerable skill, whereas photography is perceived to be the product of technology. This perception was conditioned into our minds when we were young children.
    A painting takes more time to produce. A lot of thought and planning goes into the development of a painting. There are exceptions, but photographs tend to be designed and constructed "in the moment" as the result of the appearance of some phenomenon.
     
  61. A big part of being famous as an artist is self promotion Dali and Picasso were both excellent at it as are some photographers. Ansel Adams comes to mind. I bet you can remember some of his work as well as Picasso's work. To be know in the world of any art you got to be bold and claim your are the best there is. Then the rich snooty art collector club will buy all your stuff after you are dead.
     
  62. We remember paintings better because they are quite unreal and look diferent.
    Photograph is very similar to what we see every second so it's nothing special for our brain until it's great piece of art, interesting, shocking or taken by Josef Koudelka ;).
     

  63. Joe Taylor , Feb 05, 2010; 07:07 p.m.
    A big part of being famous as an artist is self promotion Dali and Picasso were both excellent at it as are some photographers. Ansel Adams comes to mind. I bet you can remember some of his work as well as Picasso's work. To be know in the world of any art you got to be bold and claim your are the best there is. Then the rich snooty art collector club will buy all your stuff after you are dead.
    And there you have it.
    The truth that nobody wants to admit.
    "It's 98 percent P.R., man......"
    Miles Davis to Bryant Gumbel, 1982 interview
    Bill P.
     
  64. Luis G [​IMG], Feb 05, 2010; 02:09 p.m.
    Bill, I want you to know I also appreciate and respect your work ethic. From shooting slides for decades before switching to digital, I'm quite familiar with it, and still do as much as I can at the front end.
    Luis, thank you for the kind words and I always look forward to chatting with you. Yes, shooting slides requires serious artistic discipline to arrive at the desired results. Slides are a great training tool, I shot slides for years also.
    Bill P.
     
  65. Luis G [​IMG], Feb 05, 2010; 03:51 p.m.
    Related to what Bill P was talking about...

    (link)
    Luis, what a fascinating article, thanks for the link!
    That is how I see beauty. Honest. Up front. Real.
    Here's the link to a short film put out by Dove. It's been around for a while, but always worth another look.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U
    Bill P.
     
  66. Not many of us can view astounding paintings in person, and probably nobody reading this could create one, so it is easy to remember the really good ones. We can all view amazing photos simply by using photo.net, and there are so many good ones it is easy to forget all that we have seen.
     
  67. Bill P. wrote: I'm still marvelling at your "bottles" collection.​

    You should see the painted versions. Nope, nothing online. As one of a kind items, I decided against sharing those. What I can say is that an almost universal reaction to being in the presence of several of those paintings together gives one a profound sense of unease. At one gallery opening, after everyone had done the obligatory walk-through among the paintins, the attendees were all clusted at the back of the gallery, as far away from the paintings as possible. But those are several times over life-size, and also contain a number of hidden imagery that (I think) pushes the viewers' buttons psychologically.
     
  68. Let's look at some examples: Here is a painting that's simple and easy to remember.

    • "Every [real] artist is a world by himself"
    - as this (unkown) painter said.
    ciao Jina
     
  69. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 06, 2010; 12:05 p.m.
    Bill P. wrote: I'm still marvelling at your "bottles" collection.
    What I can say is that an almost universal reaction to being in the presence of several of those paintings together gives one a profound sense of unease.
    Tom,
    I find the photographs charming.
    I can't imagine why oversized bottle paintings would disturb anyone. Since this is on topic, could you speculate?
    Bill P.
     
  70. Not so simple, but easily recalled (and perhaps pushing some buttons along the way):
    http://www.donaldrollerwilson.com/
    And a pretty neat guy in his own right. No longer teaching though.
     
  71. Well if you say paintings take more time i have to disagree. I don't know many painters that have traveled 8,000 miles to hike another 10 over a mountain freezing to death to paint. They can just go into their warm and cozy room, turn on their favorite style of music and start painting mine or your picture they found in a magazine.
     
  72. Kevin OConnell , Feb 09, 2010; 10:13 a.m.
    Well if you say paintings take more time i have to disagree. I don't know many painters that have traveled 8,000 miles to hike another 10 over a mountain freezing to death to paint.
    Let's see, you've got one photo posted, a barn im Missouri. It doesn't look cold, and it doesn't look like you had to hike ten miles over a mountain.
    Since it is 8,010 miles from home, I guess you live in South Korea or Iran.
    Bill P.
     
  73. Yes Bill, haven't used this site in years. Didn't even know I had a picture on here. That was prob a pic I did in Missouri for a friend. The reply I made can be any photographer, didn't think I said it was a barn in Missouri, but if you are really interested I did a series in Antarctica for six months. Sounds to me like you are a painter
     
  74. Kevin OConnell , Feb 09, 2010; 11:48 a.m.
    Sounds to me like you are a painter
    Kevin, I'm a graphic artist and Fashion Designer by training, a disaster with a paint brush.
    I do photography because it's easy.
    Seriously.
    Bill P.
     
  75. It's me, Kevin O'Connell. I've been banned for abusive posting so I've created yet another fake name. William Palminteri [​IMG] I can't believe you actually wrote that. You come into a photo forum to bash photography and photographers in general. I hope everyone that reads this looks at your photos and laughs. You better stick to graphic and fashion because you sure can't take a picture.
    Glad its easy for you, because if it was hard to take those pictures on your site, I feel sorry for you.
     

  76. Jim Artist , Feb 09, 2010; 12:23 p.m.
    William Palminteri [​IMG] I can't believe you actually wrote that. You come into a photo forum to bash photography and photographers in general. I hope everyone that reads this looks at your photos and laughs. You better stick to graphic and fashion because you sure can't take a picture.
    Glad its easy for you, because it was hard to take those pictures on your site, I feel sorry for you.
    Listen Jim, if I wanted a critique from you I'd ask for one.
    Why don't you actually post a photo or two instead of signing up ten minutes ago to take pot-shots at me?
    Moderator: Because "Jim Painter" is really Kevin O'Connell and Jim Resner. In other words, a fraud.
    You feel sorry for me?
    Gee, that's swell.
    Do you have a clue as to how forums actually work?
    Does the term OFF-TOPIC ring a bell?
    Bill P.
     
  77. Well, Bill P. I feel sorry for you... or more realistically for your brushes. You sound like you're a terror with them. I'll bet if you sit quietly after hours you can hear your sables whining in the dark.
    Seriously though. Anyone that thinks painting is easier than photography should rethink. Vermeer's lifetime output was small, although he worked at it continuously. It routinely took him more than a year to complete an individual painting. And the cost of good sables - if they're available at all - is over $200 apiece for the brushes I prefer. Cobalt Violet at $75 a tube. Six months to prep and prime a linen canvas so that it is ready to paint on. The exposure to toxic fumes and chemicals (lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc.).
    And I have to say on Jim's behalf... if you have no argument to make, by all means make a personal attack. That way you will be very popular, and force the person you're attacking to bow to your superior argument.
     
  78. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 09, 2010; 05:02 p.m.
    Well, Bill P. I feel sorry for you... or more realistically for your brushes. You sound like you're a terror with them. I'll bet if you sit quietly after hours you can hear your sables whining in the dark.
    Tom, my brushes spent several years in therapy to deal with PTSD. Then they "retired" to a "home" for abused art supplies.
    When I studied graphic design, I was introduced to the media you talk about and the complexity that can be involved. I remember sable brushes, but to own one was, for me, pointless. I'd leave that to artists like yourself who can actually paint.
    I'm looking at "The Art of Painting " by Vermeer as I write this. That's the one in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, as you know. The detail in the chandelier alone is worth the price of admission. Paintings like that are not weekend projects, as you point out.
    A big part of my training was to study works like this, and the payoff was monumental. Having been exposed tho this level of craftsmanship was the experience of a lifetime, even if we only got to see prints.
    To re-address the original post, I recall art of all types with equal ease. That includes music also.
    From ann earlier post, you mentioned that you had paintings of bottles on display in a gallery, and they caused quite a stir.
    I wonder why people get such a visceral reaction to them.
    Any thoughts?
    Bill P.
     
  79. Bill, there is a sexual subtext to the work, partly through hidden (subliminal if you will) imagery, and partly due to the scale and subject matter, since they are painted over lifesize and involve objects that appear to have "invaded" (penetrated) a space in which they do not belong. Few pick up the hidden information directly, but there's enough there to create a sense of unease, as if the message is signalling that it wants to come through, and not getting the message creates a discomfort.
    A painter can filter out and insert items at his/her discretion, depending upon their skill level. And alter the content and appearance of reality while still maintaining the semblance of reality. Not so easily done as a photographer.
    The link I posted further up is to a former teacher of mine. Also an admirer of Vermeer.
     
  80. Bill - " I do photography because it's easy."
    That statement can be taken to mean many different things. Bill might consider it easier for himself , in his experience, which he mentions in the statement. This is primarily how it comes across to me, as a personal statement.
    It can also mean that photography is easy in general , because all one has to do is point & press the button, though with all of Bill's education, this seems unlikely. In a way, it is true. I've been to parties back in the day, when as long as I was able to stay upright and twitch my index finger I was getting pictures, even though they mostly sucked.
    For a fraction of the cost of a camera, canvas, sable brushes, tubes of paint, etc., I can buy a pencil and paper, and very quickly make finished drawings. Matisse did, though it took him a lifetime to get there. Most people can't, and won't, commit themselves to anything with that kind of kamikaze devotion.
    But for most of us, ease and quality are separate channels. Nothing is easy to do well, let alone at a world-class level. Most people, specially photographers, are visual illiterates even though they, if under 40 yrs old, have lived out their entire lives enveloped by them. Like water to a goldfish.
     
  81. Tom, I'd love to see the works at some point. Messages not getting through in their entirety sounds like a dream state. Getting that to work on canvas in two dimensions is really saying something.
    A painter can filter out and insert items at his/her discretion, depending upon their skill level. And alter the content and appearance of reality while still maintaining the semblance of reality. Not so easily done as a photographer.
    So true, and frustrating at times as a photographer, especially working unretouched. The scenes have to be sought out or physically created in the studio.
    It would be easier to let the paint brushs get my tgoughts across, if only I could paint!
    Don Wilson's work makes me a bit uncomfortable.
    Great work, to be sure, but haunting.
    Bill P.
     
  82. Luis G [​IMG], Feb 10, 2010; 07:56 a.m.
    Bill - " I do photography because it's easy."

    That statement can be taken to mean many different things. Bill might consider it easier for himself , in his experience, which he mentions in the statement. This is primarily how it comes across to me, as a personal statement.
    It can also mean that photography is easy in general , because all one has to do is point & press the button, though with all of Bill's education, this seems unlikely.
    Luis, you're right, I assume averyone knows that I don't preface everything with those cute little "IMO"'s. Anything becomes easy if you spend your time and effort correctly at developing a skillset. Assuming you have the proper prerequisites for a given activity the rest becomes a matter of commitment.
    Put simply, work. Hard work. Lots of hard work applied correctly.
    For example, whatever it takes to be a painter, I don't have the prerequisites.
    For other skills, I do.
    Now it's a matter of putting in the work.
    Correctly.
    Then the skill becomes second nature.
    So yes, photography is easy for me. painting is not.
    Photography seems hard for many people.
    Since I don't know them or their processes, I can't comment. But as you state.....
    Most people can't, and won't, commit themselves to anything with that kind of kamikaze devotion.
    That sums it up for me.
    Sad but true, decent equipment and a stack of old "Modern Photography" magazines just won't cut it.
    Most people, specially photographers, are visual illiterates.....

    So true Luis, so true.
    Bill P.
     
  83. Bill P. wrote: Don Wilson's work makes me a bit uncomfortable.
    Great work, to be sure, but haunting.​
    The guy is pretty special. At least Robin Williams and Carrie Fisher thought enough so that they plunk down major chunks of change for his work. Haunting and message not coming through completely - that covers (he goes by "Roller") his work pretty well. I don't even know the full sub-text, and studied intensely with him. I have heard him described as the only living painter who can send a show to New York without having to go hawk it himself. He sends. It's a sensation. It all sells. Lather rinse repeat.
    I have tried to toy with some photo plus Photoshop techniques to deliver the same kind of results, but so far am miles and miles away from where I'd like it to be. Perhaps someday. My luck, I'll "perfect" the technique the very same day the world is plunged into darkness and no one will be able to make or view electronic work ever again.
     
  84. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 10, 2010; 11:03 a.m.
    I have tried to toy with some photo plus Photoshop techniques to deliver the same kind of results, but so far am miles and miles away from where I'd like it to be.
    Tom, I've gotten some pretty haunting shots poking around downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan. The light has to be just right, and numerous other factors have to line themselves up. it's extremely unpredictable, no way of knowing. I've posted one below, unretouched.
    There's a guy in Brooklyn who does similar work to Roller, far less serious though.
    He sells out immediately, too.
    Go figure.
    Bill P.
    00VjkV-219311584.jpg
     
  85. Jerome Witkin (I think that he is Joel-Peter's brother) paints and draws in a similar vein, and is the source of the "only living artist" reference made about Roller. And I agree that with the light just right, lots of things happen.
    In class yesterday we were talking about the classic Hollywood shot of an ordinary scene, unawares subject with a large, ominous shadow looming from overhead. There are lots of ways to communicate complex messages visually. But on the whole, I don't think photography yet allows (or "straight" photography) for communication of really complex subtexts of the sort that I like to fiddle with.
     
  86. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 10, 2010; 12:05 p.m.
    And I agree that with the light just right, lots of things happen....
    ....But on the whole, I don't think photography yet allows (or "straight" photography) for communication of really complex subtexts of the sort that I like to fiddle with.
    Tom, I agree, straight photography, without studio sets, props, etc., only accomodates what's in front of the lens. If you get the break, you get the shot.
    I've done some radical stuff in software (not p/s, but that's not important right now) and I agree that if you want to create "outside"(not "outsider") shots, then SFX rule the day. In that respect, you could make the case that painting is "easier". It's not, it just allows the talented craftsman to get the heart of the matter quicker. If you can dream it, you can paint it, so to speak. Trying to pull off the vision in software is another matter entirely, as you're discovering.
    I always refer to my manipulated work as "digital art", or something of that nature. I don't consider it photography at that point, but that's semantics.
    Bill P.
     
  87. A little boy saluting his father's casket

    A Vietnamese army officer shooting a man in the street
    A lone Chinese student standing in front of a tank
    The zepplin Hindenberg partially engulfed in flames
    Soliders raising the flag on Iwo Jima
    Muhammad Ali standing over a fallen Sonny Liston
    A sailor kissing a young nurse in the streets of NY
    A migrant women sitting with her children
    Close up of the face and eyes of an Afghan girl
    Two Olympic athletes raising their hands in the "Black Power" salute on the medal stand.
    The "Y" shaped cloud of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion
    Marylin Monroe with her dress blowing up.
    The Beatles walking the crosswalk at Abby Road
    See if you have any problem picturing any of these images, just from the description.
    Sean
     
  88. I usually respond to photographers insisting upon the "photography is just as good as..." argument about as warmly as I do to Malevich's Suprematist Movement. The argument is actually a little less interesting than Suprematism though.
     
  89. A photograph is literally attached to its subject, an attachment and connection that no painting or drawing could ever render visually, photography is not " just as good as ", in its unique way it's better, but only if one lets photography stand alone - it's strong enough for that - instead of putting it up for comparison and imitation with other mediums like painting.
     
  90. Phylo - " A photograph is literally attached to its subject..."
    A photograph shows traces of captured photons that echoed from or went through whatever is depicted, and they, too, were detached from the subject, or they would not have reached film or sensor. Is it spiritually attached or entangled with the subject? Yes, but that's not what you said above.
    It is a referent of the subject.
     
  91. I'm talking about the photograph and the photographic image in relationship to its subject. The photograph of the pipe is more attached, quite literally, to that pipe as the subject, than the photo-realistic painting of that same pipe, or than a painting of a pipe, which isn't saying that the photograph = the pipe.
     
  92. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 10, 2010; 05:10 p.m.
    I usually respond to photographers insisting upon the "photography is just as good as..." argument about as warmly as I do to Malevich's Suprematist Movement. The argument is actually a little less interesting than Suprematism though.
    Tom, paintings of squares? I'd love to say "Surely you jest", but those people were serious! Ay least "Modi" made the idea somewhat palatable.....
    Hey, how about my new resurrection, "White Cow in the Snow"?
    I know it's been done already, but I will pair it with "Black Bull at Night" so the comparativists will have something to crab about.
    Bill P.
     
  93. I just came to this thread and read quite a bit of it. The question is something that all of us have talked about with other photographers, artists, our grandmothers, etc....
    Simple conclusion I've come up with is that from the time we're kids we're surrounded by photographs. There's you at 3 at 4... there's us... remember so and so. .. and the way we look at them is by cascading through them, flipping through them like they're baseball cards, putting some aside and coming back to them later.
    It's no different when I see other photographers going through other people's prints. They may talk about them more in depth, may point out certain things that photographers point out, but they don't stand across the room and rub their chins like they do with even a bad painting and say things like, "I have to live with this for a while..."
    Goes back to our experience with the medium.
     
  94. Fi Rondo , Feb 11, 2010; 12:21 p.m.
    ....Simple conclusion I've come up with is that from the time we're kids we're surrounded by photographs....
    ....Goes back to our experience with the medium.
    Interesting observation, Fi.
    I was surrounded by photos, art and music.
    I remember all media equally well.
    Bill P.
     
  95. Bill P. I can think of no other "art movement" as annoying as the Suprematists. I just hope that photographers won't go waltzing down that road in attitude...
    And the immersion factor Fi mentions is likely right on there... since I was surrounded from early childhood by drawing media.
     
  96. Tom Watt [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 11, 2010; 02:38 p.m.
    Bill P. I can think of no other "art movement" as annoying as the Suprematists.
    Tom, I can think of other movements about as annoying, food poisoning comes immesdiately to mind, and luckily there are medications for that.
    But artistically, I'll agree with you about the "Suprematists".
    Bill P.
     
  97. Could it be because I've 'learned' that painting is a higher form of 'art' than photography and if I had been taught the opposite the opposite would be the case? Could it be that painters are more romanticized and written about and are considered as contributing more significantly to world culture and history​
    It's a combination of both, Alan.
    but more importantly, paintings are more "iconic" in the sense that they are simpler in an abstract way. Photographs tend to be more detailed since they are more realistic representative of what we see.
    In short, it's easier for our minds to remember abstract, simple impressions (paintings) than to recall realistic details (photographs)
     
  98. For me, I remember paintings and photographs equally if...
    If its something I love I remember it.
    If is something I hate I remember it
    If it gave me no impression ether way, I don't remember it or care.
    I'm very cut and dry, tell it like it is. Their is no scientific explanation or have anything to do with history.
     

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