Where does photography stop and painting begin?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Grandpa Ron, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I do not think photos ever become paintings. But...photos can be photo-illustrations. And of course at times, photos can have painterly qualities or characteristics. Painting uses paints or pigments on a medium,like canvas,or wood,or concrete, or something else. Photographs are made with a camera and lens of some type, and are captured on "some type" of medium: film,plate,photographic paper,or an imaging sensor of CCD or CMOS type, and there's an intermediate stage, and a final,printed stage. Painting has no intermediate stage between imagination/conception, and the final stage...a painting is painted...there exists NO "negative", no "RAW file", no "SOOC JPEG" file.

    Mixed media pieces on the other hand, differ from both photos and paintings, and can easily share the characteristics of both photos, and of paintings, or drawings, or sculptures. Mixed media was all the rage at one time, and it never has completely disappeared. It's still out there!

    In another sense, some people like to differentiate between the practice of photography, and the practice of digital imaging. While similar, photography is subtly different from digital imaging. Perhaps the OP's question is really more about defining the area where photography crosses into digital imaging? Where "Straight" work crosses into "manipulated" work?


     
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  2. Dave442

    Dave442 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My mom used photographs very extensively in making collages. Nobody looked at one of the finished pieces and thought, "is this a photograph or painting", it was just art. My sister has taken her photos and printed them out as lithographs - they look more like a painting than a photo (currently has some of that up at a show in Manhattan Beach).

    When I first set up a darkroom, my great aunt gave me here coloring set to paint prints. I did not ever use the set as I of course had color film available if I so desired a color image. But painting B&W photos was a big time deal for many photographers back in the day of B&W film.
     
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  3. otherprof

    otherprof TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Just two points before I return to the sidelines on this one:
    1.Just because we can't draw a sharp dividing liner, it doesn't mean there is no difference or that we don't see the difference. How tall does a man have to be to be considered tall (in inches or centimenters, not some vague "taller than the average bear)? We don't know the answer but are unlikely to mistake a tall man for a short one. Where does the front of your head begin and the back of it end? Hard to specify without being arbitrary, but unless we are talking about Cousin Itt from the Adams family, there is little chance we will mistake the front of someon's head for the back of their head.

    2. Maybe there is nothing wrong without being able to draw that sharp line. Maybe it is better not to be able to draw it. How many lies may a person tell and still be "an honest person"? I'm glad there is no answer written down somewhere. Maybe there are some advantages to not being able to draw a sharp line between painting and photography. Categories can restrict and contain, as well as provide necessary guidance.
     
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  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Agreed; but sometimes part of the fun is to shoot in B&W and then choose how you wish to color a scene. You can use the photo oils, but also regular oils, or chalk, colored pencils...whatever. It's something that is part of general "photo manipulation," though with digital that phrase has more far-reaching meaning than playing with values.
     
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  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You talk like a philosopher!

    Oh, wait.... ;)
     
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  6. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As I mentioned in my opening post, after viewing these beautiful landscapes and seascapes, I dawned on me that "Hey, they really do not exist" except in the depths of a computer somewhere. This lead me to contemplate, is it really a Photograph?

    In reality, except for a simple mind exerciser, it makes no or difference what you call it. It is the ongoing blend of creativity and technology.

    It would not surprise me that eventually, artists will switch to electronic brushes, to paint directly onto video screens; eliminating those smelly paints, easels and boards full of mixed paint globs. Imagine being able to instantly change the shade of the shadow detail you just made and change it back if it was better.

    Time and technology always march on. :)
     
  7. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    They do now.

     
  8. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Do you think people are disappointed now when they go to that place that looked so beautiful on Instagram and discover that they really can't see the sunset and the foreground both in full color without shadows or that they wonder why the waterfall isn't all smooth and smokey?
     
  9. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I think that I see things differently from a lot of people. There's certainly a technical barrier that needs to be overcome when dealing with stuff like exposure, given that cameras only capture roughly half of what our eyes can see. I know I see more tones than my camera does as in mist and fog the images I get are not what I'm seeing in front of me. Similar in backlit situations where my eyes can clearly see lots of detail in highlights and shadows where the camera doesn't record any data.

    Translucance is also very difficult to translate to photography. I've also had that experience with colour, where the colour I see does not match what the camera is recording, or the impact of it in person is much greater than it appears in print.

    What we see in any image, whither that's a painting, photograph or whatever is just one person's interpretation of a scene. So in a way you are right, in so far as you are looking at a two dimentional representation of something that exists in 4 dimensions and in that sense only in being there can a person really understand what it is like. But then again, what is reality anyway......
     
  10. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Square Peg,

    I have long since stop trying to guess how folk feel about things. I once missed a shot of a back lit, dew cover, spider web between two trees. I knew that by time I walked back for the camera, it would be gone. So to the purple tinted sunrise when fishing it MN. These images only exist in my memory.

    If someday, someone captures or digitally manufacturers these moments for others. they would be doing a great service.

    I have my opinions of course but they do not apply to others.
     
  11. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If your photo could be accepted as evidence in a trial, then it's telling the truth and is a photo. Otherwise it's digital art.

    A black white photo even though it has no color can tell the truth and is a photo. Whereas a color print that cloned out the sky and replaced it with one from another scene is digital art.
     
  12. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    Here is an attempt I made recently to emulate painting with a photo:
    [​IMG]
    Abstract/minimalist image at sunrise
    by Peeb is OK, on Flickr

    I'm not a fantastic photographer, but WOW am I a bad painter, so photos (edited) are as close as I care to come to painting!
     

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