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Posts Tagged ‘Phtographers can learn from master painters’

In our 2013 articles about Wyeth, we posted a color shot of his studio. This black and white image gives a different impression. By Paul Goldfinger ©

In our 2013 articles about Wyeth, we posted a color shot of his studio. This black and white image gives a different impression. By Paul Goldfinger © Click image to enlarge

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger

Last September we reported on our visit to the Andrew Wyeth studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. If you are interested in art but missed those reports, here are the Blogfinger links.

Wyeth studio one

Wyeth studio two

As a photographer, I always pay attention to painters because they create their own worlds while photographers capture what the lens sees. However, there are gray zones, because with digital photography and even with film–darkroom photography, the artist has an opportunity to manipulate the world that he sees.

There are various “schools” of photography that have come and gone over the years since the invention of the camera and light sensitive media.  One of those insisted on stark realism without any manipulation.   That was true during the golden age of photojournalism where a newspaper photographer could not stage an image or do more to it other than some minor darkroom effects, such as adjusting contrast, which would make the picture clearer.

But later, photojournalism merged into fine art photography.  With attention being paid to the “fine art” image, skies were often challenging.  Some photographers sought landscapes where the sky was dramatic with clouds, color and shading.  If not, they did not  like a plain sky, so they could “burn” the sky in the darkroom to at least give it some “color” in a black and white print. With digital photography you can achieve all sorts of effects in the sky. Bob Bowné’s imaginative photography seen regularly on Blogfinger illustrates how special digital effects can be used in modern photography.

Which brings me to Wyeth’s dry brush  on paper painting called “The Mill” from 1959.  If you look at the sky, you see no details and no clouds.  He does give it a little color. Wyeth could have made the sky look any way, but he chose this.

So this painting has given me permission as a photographer to be satisfied with a landscape that has no detail in the sky.  It’s just as well, because if all your photos have dramatic skies, then it can get boring.  And in the case of this painting, Wyeth’s choice was absolutely the best one.

The Mill by Andrew Wyeth. (From a reproduction by the Brandywine River Museum)

The Mill by Andrew Wyeth. (From a reproduction by the Brandywine River Museum)

Here is one of my photographs that illustrates the point:

Washington, DC. Undated. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Washington, DC. Undated. By Paul Goldfinger ©

K.D. LANG

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