Sunday, 30 October 2011


Photorealism is most referred to as an art movement which happened in the United States during the 60s/70s. Gathering information on a subject using a camera or photograph the paintings created will appear almost photographic, making them seem 'real'. It can also be known as hyper-realism. 

Wikipedia defines a photorealist in these terms:

1. The Photo-Realist uses the camera and photograph to gather information.
2. The Photo-Realist uses a mechanical or semimechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas.
3. The Photo-Realist must have the technical ability to make the finished work appear photographic.
4. The artist must have exhibited work as a Photo-Realist by 1972 to be considered one of the central Photo-Realists.
5. The artist must have devoted at least five years to the development and exhibition of Photo-Realist work.

What I am interested in is this is the reproduction of the photograph, people generally say "I'm a photographer because I can't paint", the preciseness of a painter to achieve a photorealistic painting is incredible and something I can reflect on when I am photoshopping. My thought is, if a painter has to blow up a photograph to paint over to then make it look like a photograph, when we photoshop are we not taking a photograph and editing it to make it look like what we believe the photograph should look like. With a lot of editing in a photograph could it be the same basic concept? We knew it was a photograph, but why use these processes to then make it look 'more' like a photograph?

Ralph Goings - 'Ralph's Diner'

Ralph goings is an example of one of closest associated painters with the movement, he wanted to do the opposite of producing abstract work which allowed him to think of copying a photograph perfectly. This upset people, but then what art hasn't upset people?

Ralph Goings created incredible paintings, its hard to believe they are not photographs, especially with these two pieces. As his work is mainly about condiments and diners I though an interesting photograph to compare them with would be 'The Ice Cream Parlor' by Erwin Olaf, who I have written about before. What interests me is how Olaf is described as having a hyper realistic technique and look about his photos. Does this mean they look like paintings that look like photographs? That the amount of photoshop that he uses makes them seem less like photographs? Is it the lighting and the construction? There is a definite style which I do aspire to. With this work I want to make it seem painting like, use the hyperrealistic style Olaf does which the audience questions, as it does with Goings work. 

Erwin Olaf - The Ice Cream Parlor 

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