Home / Debates / Culture and Entertainment / Painting represents mankind better than Photography

Painting represents mankind better than Photography

When the invention of photography was announced in Paris in 1839, the artist Paul Delaroche stated that, “from today, painting is dead”. 169 years of painting since that time have proved Delaroche wrong however the initial announcement did change the way painters approached their art. They moved away from realism and evolved new ways of looking at the world – Impressionism, Cubism and Surrealism to name a few. In Modernism the subject was dropped completely and painting became all about the ideology of the aesthetic and the autonomy of the painted surface. Photography was now the purveyor of truth and painting was just the old man at the end of bar who stories may be listened to but are never believed. But what of photography? It may have become the primary visual currency within society, but how objective and transparent is this magical medium, and is it really even art?

All the Yes points:

  1. The Skill
  2. The Inspiration Factor
  3. More than just Vision

All the No points:

  1. What about the Technology?
  2. What about the Accessibility?
  3. What about the Truth?
  4. A cross-section of the community

The Skill

Yes because…

Painterly skill shows how gifted mankind can be. It is in itself an expression of our humanity; there is something of the artist in it as well as the subject.

No because…

Photography shows how far mankind has come. A far cry from painting on cave walls with a stick and animal blood, humans have created a machine that captures life as it happens. Furthermore, vast amounts of digital software – as well as traditional darkroom techniques – have been developed to add further artistic flair to the images they capture.

Professional Photographers still have to work hard to develop the skill to produce emotion and to convey a meaning in their works. Photography is is as much of an art as painting.

The Inspiration Factor

Yes because…

We are not awe inspired by photography in the same way we are by the Mona Lisa or the Sistine chapel

No because…

One person’s preference does not stand for everyone else on the planet.

Many people prefer photography to paintings, or like them similarly, or like neither.

More than just Vision

Yes because…

Paintings can tell us more about our nature as human beings than the literal visual world shown in photographs

No because…

Hyper-realistic paintings aim to reproduce life as accurately as possible.

Movements such as Pictorialism, in the area of photography, aimed to bring it firmly into the category of ‘art’. A wide variety of techniques were employed, from extensive use of filters to etching prints with fine needles, in order to make the resultant images resemble sumptuous oil paintings.

A photograph can be taken in an instant – a painting can take years to finish. A lucky, candid shot can reveal more about a person’s inner self than they even realised themselves, whereas a posed portrait will simply show the angle they want the world to see.

What about the Technology?

No because…

Photographic technology shows how ingenious mankind can be…

Yes because…

What about the Accessibility?

No because…

Photography is more accessible than painting – cheaper, quicker, and able to be made by all.

Entry-level photography equipment is cheap – and even today, most people have cameras on their cell phones or other mobile devices.

With modern digital cameras, it’s easy to share images – Paintings, on the other hand, are usually one work, and cannot be easily shared, like photos can with their digitalization. Granted, people can “paint” on their computers in art programs, but in terms of accessability, paint programs and photo programs are either one and the same, or equally costly. Most people, however, make do without a photo manipulation program.

Yes because…

Painting is much cheaper – compare the prices of wash-tint plus paper with a photo camera plus accessories. Professional painting equipment is also cheaper than high-tech cameras.

Without electricity (e.g. in the middle of the jungle), photography is not accessible. Analogue photography also requires photo labs.

Everyone is able to paint – its quality differs from person to person but the case is similar with photography.

What about the Truth?

No because…

Photography is truth – it shows us what was really there at a specific time

Yes because…

Photography is a segment reality from a certain aspect via determined access – i.e., how a photographer sees the world and how her machine is able to represent it. In question of truth it does not differ essentially from painting.

A cross-section of the community

No because…

More people can capture a recognisable image using a camera than by creating a painting. Therefore, photographs can reflect the ideas and opinions of many more demographics than painting. Consequently, it is true to say that photography is better at representing mankind as a whole.

Yes because…

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

What’s the difference between painting and photography? Both were originally created as ways in which man can record and capture a scene. Art was just an extra topping. Photography is just painting taken to another level.

Soumyajit Chowdhury
7 years ago

Painting is not real.Photography is real making photograph is actually a very tough because it happened for a second and a painting can be done throughout a year.Photography shows how a photographer watch this world in an aesthetic way but painting doesn’t a painter can draw a line and want to express in an imaginable way but a photographer should show that exact emotion at that time.A people can cry by watch a emotional conditions in a photograph but a people can’t cry by watch a painting because it doesn’t show that proper emotion.

Verified by MonsterInsights