Painting, Photography, Philosophy – Playing with Color, Light & Words
In the forms of art, painting depicts the act of using a brush or a palette knife or a sponge to put the paint on the canvas. Painting is the practice of applying pigments…the elements of colors to a material surface. There is a style to applying those mixer of colors and creating those colorful compositions on the canvas. It is this very style of crafting the composition that sets one set of painting and artists from the other.
There are so many different styles of painting that have emerged during, post and prior to the Renaissance period. Classical to Contemporary, Realism to Romanticism, Impressionism to Post-Impressionism, Cubism to Fauvism, Symbolism to Victorian style and all have taken the art of painting to a higher space of visualization and appreciation. These are multiple ways to capture the happenings around us and create it in a way that reflects the slice of that reality and attempts to aesthetically presents a unique perspective.
Photography captures a moment of time. It is the reality unfolding in front of the photographer and he uses the power of technology to freeze a piece of time in paper.
There is ‘skill’ in photography much like the role of ‘style’ in painting.
The questions that keep cropping and popping up…
Is photography then an art form?
Is there a philosophy in painting?
Is photography and painting all about perspective?
Initially photography was not included in the space of art work and it took time to get where it belongs. Every form of art or for that science takes time to develop and reach stage where it can then create its niche. Photography also confronted the dark side of life where it is so much about the art of playing with light. Philosophically speaking life is so much about darkness and light. Anything positive is light and those negative things are considered dark. Today photography has crafted its own place and is being considered as an art form and there are dedicated galleries and museums exhibiting photographic work.
Every artist develops their own philosophy of painting. It is the taste. It is the style. It is the flavor. It is also a slice of his or her personality that gets subtly transferred onto the world of canvas. A piece of photograph captures the reality and there is no transfer of imagination onto the picture. It is the exact reality as it unfolded at that very moment.
Photographer can never capture the perspective of an artist. The interpretation of a painting may vary with the viewer as the imagination of the artists cannot be fully articulated and defined within the restricted boundaries of reality. An artist needs unbound freedom. Every time an artist strikes a brush on the canvas, he is transmitting through the palettes of colors a packet of his own credence and dream.
Painting is painstakingly laborious process of love done with much passion and so much of patience, unlike the lovely process of bouncing of light from an object that gets captured as the image in photography. There is both an art and science in painting and photography…
Science of Photography
The science of photography deals with the subject of chemistry and physics where as photographer needs to be fairly versed with the mechanical aspects of camera, the different lenses and the typical ways of adjustment of the parts to get the perfect shot. The behind the scene job of film making which once used to be manually done, then the chemistry did matter.
A conventional camera consisted of a light-proof box that allows a speck of light enter at the right moment to capture that perfect moment. Once it enters the camera it creates an image by causing a chemical reaction on the photo film. The negative film needs to develop to get the positive. It is the yin-yang of film making of photography.
The digital camera no more have these photo films instead it has the memory card with the CCD/CMOS sensors which captures light and transform into a picture instantly. In other words the incoming picture hits the sensor chip which breaks it up into millions of pixels that then makes the picture.
Art of Philosophy
Philosophy is study of ethics, aesthetics, and epistemology to metaphysics. Ethics is branch that deals with the right and wrong in life. Aesthetics is the branch that explores the beauty of creation and bounty of nurturing nature. Epistemology asks the profound question of “how we know what we know”. Metaphysics deals with the most fundamental question of existence. Philosophers are thinkers. They think deep and they think wide. They think about anything and everything that surround sour life and living. Socrates to Plato to Aristotle has changed the way we look at life through their philosophical talks and treatise. In other words philosophy deals so much with the connotation and denotation of words that governs our living and world of meaning of life…
The art of painting is all about that aesthetics of life and appreciating the creation of something beautiful. There is a philosophy intrinsically embedded in every piece of painting only the question remain how do we interpret the myriad manifestations of the artist’s imagination.
Painting is so much about the philosophy of life. It asks the pertinent questions about every piece of art and the art of appreciating such masterpieces.
Photography captures life’s moment.
Painting celebrates life’s journey.
Philosophy questions life itself.
Photography as a form of art took time to gain momentum after its invention in the 20th century, louder become the chorus that painting would lose it sheen. And fade in the glittering light of enlightened pictures captured by these powerful lenses of better and bigger camera. Photography was considered as an enemy to genre of painting. Henri Cartier Bresson, the legendary photographer created a distinct style of photography where his black and white pictures still depicts a modern feel. Irving Penn know for his portrait and fashion photography. Eugene Smith photography paved the way for photojournalism, “The Walk to Paradise Garden” the photograph that captures the little kids entering into a wonderful world of nature.
In the modes of Expressionism and Impressionism, the artists and the viewer celebrated that connection of sensibility. There existed a subtle bond with the reality of life and the various things that is happening all around us.
The advent of 20th century brought about a revolution in the art form from the representational art which depict the visual reality to being independent of visual reality what is termed as abstraction.
As photography started to march ahead, Abstraction in Art was questioned as it perceived to be disconnected from the reality and from our daily life. The abstract art uses the visual language of line, shape, form and color to create a composition artistically independent of the exact reality. It all started with the wonderful work of some great artists. Partial abstraction by Fauvism of Henri Matisse to Cubism of George Braque. Geometric abstraction by Kazimir Malevich. Neoplasticism form is abstract art by Piet Mondrian. First Abstract watercolor by Wassily Kandinsky.
Painter to Photographer
A painter can easily turn onto be a photographer but a photographer cannot easily became a painter. There are always exceptions to any such assumptions. Painting needs imaginative and creative skills which generally are innate or gets developed when one’s nature gets nurtured. Proficiency of photography needs a good amount of training and adequate practice and it is more technical and mechanical skills of positioning, angling to lighting that determines the view to capture that perfect picture.
Painting is so much about playing with the palettes of static color and then picking those pieces of floating images in the sub-conscious state of mind into the conscious state and then seamlessly gets it transported onto the frames of larger canvas.
Photography is so much about playing with palate of moving colors all around us from the flowers to food to fashion that are on motion, we just need to develop that artistic eye and we then have the composition captured in our camera.
With digital blurring the boundaries of photography and painting, digital painting and digital photography have become so difficult to differentiate, and if we are keen to learn more than we need that extra lens. Everything has become instantaneous and it is the instant gratification that gives the ratification for the joy of life to enjoy.
Photography mirrors that psyche of ours where the composition happens in fraction where in Painting makes that canvas to capture our imagination in days or months.
Turning Foes to Friends
It was in 1920’s that photography was emerging as an enemy to painting and today after a century later in 2019, we have photography and painting emerging as the best of the buddies where there is convergence of these two independent practices. Digital is the facilitator in bringing these two perceived enemies in becoming the best of friend. New Age artists are fearless and they are creatively dabbling with both the camera work and brush work to get the better of two worlds onto one large canvas…attempting to craft a different kind of masterpiece on a mixed media.
Artists are merging these two different medium of art into one imaginative image creating a new outlook for the viewers. By the craft of juxtaposition of the virtual picture onto the image of reality, artists are playing within that fine grey zone of perception and perspective that determines our point of view and differing from someone else’s view point. Different point of view matters.
Artists are doing water-color painting of landscapes at the site and also taking the picture, to layer the painting onto the photography, and there is so much of similarity and our mind appreciates that creative sense of superimposition. Artists are taking black and white picture and playing with the painting, it is crafting a new perspective.
Painting, they say is no less a magical process where we discover the nuances of life through the pigments of colors on the canvas.
Photography, they say is more of a mechanical process which has become digital and discovers the nuances of life through the pixels of light on the print.
Philosophy, they say is an intriguing interplay between the realms of reality and power of imagination where we attempt to design meaningful perspectives.
Nihar R Pradhan