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Monday, April 10, 2006
  Painting from Photographs Update
The recent post about painting from photographs created some friendly debate. Some believe it is fine to use photographs as they're just another useful tool for the artist, while others believe it's almost cheating, or certainly taking a shortcut.
My opinion is somewhere in between as I think both should be used. I think you should be there in front of your subject to get a feel for it, but I also think it's fine to take a photo of that subject to complete the painting in the studio.
Here's a few opinions of visitors to buygazette.. (See all the comments here and here.)

I think generally artists are accepting of the camera. Some may be closet camera users, but there are probably very few purists that never use photography as a tool to paint. Unless of course you're an abstract painter.
>> Photography, Art News

BgArt News Blog Comments:
I have lost interest in photography as "source" for paintings or drawings completely. Reality is much more interesting.
From a practical standpoint, is there any benefit in avoiding photography altogether? I believe the no-photo position has solid advantages. I will describe one here -- that drawings become immensely more valuable as a resource. Imagine traveling to Italy for a brief visit. If you are not going to take a camera, then you know your drawings and your visual memory will be all that you will have when you return home. In this situlation, I believe there is an incentive to look and draw more carefully. How much this affects any individual artist, I do not know. For my own part, it is a big stimulus to study the real world with drawing.
Karl, I never thought of it that way. Of course, if you can't draw you're left with only your memory to turn to.
It's not what you've got its whats you do with it
I like your drawings Freiluftmaler. I dont understand a word of German, but that's the good thing about art.. we don't need words to appreciate it.
I would still like your drawings just as much if you used photographs to make them too ;-)
To use a photograph when painting and then not identify or acknowledge that usage somewhere in the artwork is to completely ignore the modern and post-modern art movements. When making a painting, can you really ignore all of the rhetoric that has been brought up in the past about this subject?
The British artist Atkinson Grimshaw was one of the first to work from photographs, and he did so brilliantly. There aren't many artists who can turn a street scene into a work of art, but he certainly did. Even in thos days there were dark mutterings about his working from photos! The debate continue...
I paint on location several time each week and also paint from photographs applying what I have learned on location

Here is an example of one process I use for photographs
Sorry here is the process
That's the way it should be done Bob. Be there and experience the location, and take some photos to work with in the studio. If its possible to do some sketches or a painting at the location, than that's good too.
Digital photography is a great tool for artists, though purists may disagree. (What is purity anyway?) I take thousands of digital photos on location and gather unending inspiration from them. A good 35mm digital camera can record subtle nuances of light and shadow. One can see immediately whether the correct light effects were recorded as you take the picture. Camera settings can be adjusted to record the scene as it was. A small photo is difficult to see and you are dependent on the development quality. I paint on an easle looking at the illuminated computer screen far away. The large computer screen makes it possible to look across the room as well and see the tones and shadows in their many variations. It's as if I was looking out the window. I am extremely happy with the results since I started this method and it has increased my output and improved my skills considerably. I used to work alot more from life but grew tired of still life and portraiture. I love to do landscapes and this is the best way to gather material. I have very sensitive eyes and skin have trouble with bright sunlight and sunglasses are no good to paint in. I paint directly on the canvas and do no preliminary sketches. Must I prove my self by lugging all sorts of equipment out in the field and put myself in danger of strangers in remote places.(as a women that is a consideration and once found myself in a dangerous situation sketching in the woods).

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