Photography versus Painting

What is art?” is a question that has gone on for hundreds of years and is still highly debated.

One of the definitions of art suggests that in order for it to be art the artist must use a degree of creative skill that produces a visual piece which in turn provokes an evocative reaction. In that light, some suggested simply capturing a part of life was in no way art at all. With limited technology, academics and theory around the art of photography in its beginnings, it’s not particularly difficult to understand.

However, with a huge amount of progress in the area it is clear now that photography provides a full and rich array of artworks that are so versatile that they can be used in vast areas of our lives. Our senses are in fact overrun with such photographic pieces in daily life. Book covers, magazines, billboards, cushions, coffee cups you name it there’s an opportunity to put a photo on it!

There are a number of significant persons in the art world who have academic notions as to the question of Photography versus Painting, Osip Brik for one. Osip stands very firmly on the side of photography and praises its ability to outshine paintings in terms of; money, speed and accuracy of reproduction.

From the very moment the camera was developed, and portrait photos began, these benefits were instantly recognisable. Yet photography has not stopped there and gradually it begins to surpass painting in many other ways also.

When colour photography began to be produced it became an even closer reproduction but the more that photographers began to understand their tools, began to be able to play with the lighting and distort the subject through framing, editing and so forth, it once again began to surpass painting. It grew and developed into something that could then be a close reproduction or it could mimic the creativity of painters by allowing the subject matter to be worked upon in a creative manner.

Along with the photography movement in which photographers became this ‘jack of all arts’, having the potential to produce photos of pure realism that capture real life moments and project them as if a person could have seen it with their own eyes is an immensely powerful tool.

Yet it has not stopped there, it has instead learned and progressed and developed year after year into a hugely versatile skill that leads to sublime and evocative and fantastical works that are in fact only mildly rooted in the initial subject at all.

It’s a genuine belief that there will always be space in any home for art, and I believe this to be true of photography. From your family portraits, to snippets of life history, to the cushion covers or amazing wall prints, when it comes to photography there is a little something for everyone.