By the time Picasso started painting—about 1915—photography had already been around for many years. But his quote reflects most painters’ attitudes at the time. This attitude still exists to some extent today. A few weeks ago my husband asked a local artist if she would be participating in an upcoming community art fair; her response was “I don’t think so - a photograph won first place last year.”
The attitude certainly isn’t limited to painters, nor is it an opinion all painters hold. But when I attended the art fair in question this past weekend, I was struck by how often I had to double check the description of an artist’s work to verify whether I was looking at a realistic painting or a photograph made to look like a painting.
As a fine art photographer who at one point in her life dabbled in the art of (not particularly good) painting, I have to ask myself - was Picasso right? And does it really matter? Creating a good digital photograph is actually painting with light. It requires some of the same skills as a traditional painter (understanding of composition, color, light) along with an understanding of a completely different set of more technical skills (f-stops, iso, shutter speed, an almost endless array of post-processing methods) to make it happen. I’m confident I’ll be able to study the art of photography for the rest of my life and still not learn it all.
I enjoy learning about and creating photographs more than I ever enjoyed painting. And while I don’t like every photograph I create—I don’t know any photographer who does—I’m determined not to worry about “likes” or comments when I like a photo of mine well enough to share. One thing I’ve learned about art in general is that successful artists create to please themselves. And often there are at least a few others out there who share similar tastes.
I know dirty beets aren’t usually thought of as “serene”, but photographing them brought me some serenity this past month. For another serene post, here’s a link to a Definitely Dreaming post by UK photographer Janet Broughton. I’ve also updated my website design recently. If you have the time I’d love it if you could take a quick peek and let me know what you think!