This is one of my favorite photos of my wife. Maybe one of my favorite photos. It was taken way back in ’77, before we were married and living in a light filled upper duplex in the city. She’s 23. I didn’t realize it at the time but the photo comes out looking like a vermeer painting. Young woman working in the kitchen with soft light coming from a window on the left.
Now here’s my question. I’ve been working lately on what I call “photopaintings,” taking photographs and manipulating with Photoshop filters to give them the look of paintings. I really love the results, but what makes art, results or process? By he way I’ve also made an actual acrylic painting based on this photo.
One could argue that minus the years of hand skill developement and the tedious investment in time building layers of real paint on a surface, there is no art. The famous “My three year old could do it” argument. Which I don’t buy. First there’s artistic choices to be made in capturing the image. I sometimes use stolen images for practice, but wouldn’t publish them or call them my own. The photos are either taken by me or someone in the family. And then there’s the skill involved in the knowledge of the software. And the choices made in the process. I do this very experimentally, trying different avenues, keeping some results, discarding others…I guess that’s one of the keys. I derive the joy of artistic experimentation from it. So I’m calling it art. I do miss the smells of a painting studio though. When I retire, I think I’ll go back to real paint.