Friday, May 29, 2009

Is Photography Becoming Painting? Duh.

When painter Paul Delaroche stood before an early Daguerreotype and exclaimed "Painting is dead!" he had no idea that one day a  little organization calling themselves "Adobe" would make him eat his words.  Nowadays, painting is far from death, and it's photography that is regressing back towards painting.  The images above, of Estonian model (and chess champion/entrepreneur/politician who's awful caught-with-her-mouth-open Wikipedia photo I don't feel bad about publishing since homegirl's got a zillion things going for her) Carmen Kass, are a perfect example. Start with a tall, thin, good looking girl who photographs well, add an Adobe Photoshop artist on a high-powered computer, and you end up with a digital painting of a supermodel (and a beautiful Dior advertisement).

When un-retouched Steven Klein photos of Madonna surfaced earlier this year, the blog-o-sphere exploded with criticism of the singer-dancer-adopter-of-African-babies' aging face as well as shout-outs to her well-maintained 50-year old face and form. Regardless of how you think she looked, it should really be shocking that "un-retouched photos" caused such a stir. Aren't photos supposed to be un-retouched? Wasn't photography invented as a way to preserve images of the world around us as it actually existed? Argue as much as you like about how photography even in it's purest form will always distort reality (and I'd tend to agree with you), we've entered an age where photography doesn't even resemble reality.

I'm not trying to tell anyone that re-touching that evil or otherwise.  I'm just saying that its interesting to think that photography, once thought to be the culmination of man's efforts in painting, is moving closer and closer back towards traditional painting every day. 

This New York Times Op-Ed piece thinks we should legislate retouching, as is being considered by the French:

Was Abe Lincoln re-touched? See a History of Photographic Tamering:

No comments:

Post a Comment