Artistic Rant

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Time for a rant about the state of photography and the desire to make photography into paintings. With the advent of Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, CorelDraw etc, creating digital artwork and the ability to turn photographs into a painterly effect has become possible at the press of a few buttons, but whilst I can see the visual attraction of them, as graphic artwork, if the image has simply been converted and you’ve crossed the line between photography and painting, how can it be passed off as a photographic style? It’s like a painter saying his airbrushed photo-realistic illustration is a photograph – it’s not, and nor would they want you to think that. So why do digital photographer’s, who one assumes enjoy the artistic medium of photography insist on making their work look like a watercolour painting? If you like watercolour or oil painting so much, invest in some brushes, paints and canvas.

I admit, there is a fine line to be walked and one man’s coffee is another man’s tea so to speak. The chemical darkroom was always experimental and at times very graphical, such as photographer’s Man Ray and Ray K Metzker, but the process involved was photographic and had some physical limitations. The digital darkroom allows for pretty much anything to be created dependent on skill, and I think there in lies the danger of a quick fix. A landscape shot that’s a bit average – whack a watercolour and a brush stroke filter on there and you have an instant painting. And that’s fine, its a work of art…but its no longer a photograph, so don’t pass it off as such.

The attached image is for example only and not a specific criticism of the artist, Paolo Scoglio. I really like it and there is undoubted skill in producing it, but it’s a digital painting, not a photograph. Rant over…

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