Painting from Photographs; Innovation or Cheating?
Photorealism has been in vogue for years, and painters have worked from photographs for many more, but is that cheating? When an artist traces an image to create a painting it both complicates the public's understanding of the medium and often puts artists on the defensive. But is a painting created from a photograph a less legitimate work of art?
Increasingly frequent use of technologies such as Photoshop has recently made the debate more public, but artists from Andy Warhol to John Currin, and David Hockney to Damien Hirst, have long painted from photographs. It has recently been suggested that even Old Masters such as Caravaggio, Ingres, and Vermeer may have made use of early camera technology for their paintings.
For everyone who is slightly uncomfortable about calling these works painting there are at least as many who care far more about the finished image than how the artist arrived at it. There are others still who applaud the use of new technology, viewing its use as innovation, important for the continued exploration and evolution of art.