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Pittura, fotografia, Photoshop e la domanda senza risposta.

Painting, photography, Photoshop and the unanswered question.


Since the early decades of the 1800s, when Niepce "invented" photography, there began to debate and question whether photography could be considered "Art" like painting or not.

On closer inspection, the painters of the time did not ask themselves many questions, but they used photographs to simplify their work as painters. Degas, Gauguin, Caillebotte and all subsequent painters could save:

  • Hours of exposure in the case of portraits
  • Hours of drawings and sketches to manually master the form before facing the final picture
  • A careful and particular observation of the subject (whatever the subject), because a photo also captures what the eye cannot see.

Until about 30 years ago the differences between the two activities were well defined:

  • Photography takes up reality, deforms it, translates it into an image, but reality is the origin of photography
  • Painting creates images that may be plausible, but also not.

You cannot photograph a dream and you cannot attach a painting to a file for an insurance refund.

Photography is responsible for a relationship with reality recognized by all (even by the courts), while painting is entrusted with the task of illustrating, communicating emotions through lines and colors.

Man has always tended to complicate his life and for decades the most vivid philosophical, critical and historical intelligences have debated and filled bookstores asking themselves the question: "is photography art"?

Bizarre question given that no one in 2020 has been able to define with universal consent what "Art" is.

They could have undertaken to define what "Art" is first and then it would have been easy to verify whether or not the photograph is consistent with the definition so painstakingly discovered.

Even very normal people are a bit confused; in fact, we know well that it is used to say: “Wow! what a beautiful photo… it looks like a painting ”and at the same time“ Wow! what a beautiful painting a photo looks like! ”.

Since it rains in the wet, in 1975 the Kodak researcher Steven Sasson invents the digital photographic system (i.e. without film, but the image is a beautiful mosaic of squares called pixels) and, even more serious, in 1988 Mr. John Knoll presents with a software of his own invention which will be called Photoshop.

In the never-ending quarrel between painters and artist photographers there is hatred and contempt even between photographers who use film and those who use the digital system.

Those who use film consider themselves an authentic photographer and accuse others of technical nullity, those who use digital regard those who use film as an endangered animal species.

However, a fact is that, with the advent of the digital system and Photoshop editing software, the relationship between photography and reality is compromised.

A husband photographed with his lover can gently say: It's not me ... it's a "photoshopped" photo (that is, retouched with the famous program mentioned above).

With Photoshop you can revolutionize, erase, replace any pixel of the photo with anything you can think of.

To define if the photo responds to reality you need a lot of experts and equipment and, however, you can not always put your hand on the fire: you could find yourself stunted.

There is an advantage in this whole story.

With the digital system you can very well photograph dreams, in the sense that starting from a photo with a real subject you can remove, add, draw, color… in short: paint.

Therefore, painting and photography have come together inextricably because it is possible to obtain any image both with painting (brushes, canvas, etc.) and with a good PC and a digital camera.

There is still only one unanswered question: what is art?

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