Photographs over painting

Day 045/100

Was looking at a couple of other bloggers sites today, both were looking at art, one from the perspective of what was your favorite form of art and the second on who was the most influential artist between a specific selection. In answering one I suggested that photography is more powerful than any painting particularly in relation to documentary and news photography. To me such photographs examples from these two areas in particular have in their own ways changed or influenced the course of the times. Although there are numerous examples several key ones come to mind, the first Dorothea Lang’s The Migrant Mother, putting a face to the hardships of the depression era. A mother flanked by her two children a look of trepidation and fear apparent, the children dressed poorly and appearing under nourished. Kevin Carter’s award winning photograph showing a stricken child crawling towards a food camp, of all photographs this one instigated a deeper investigation of the effects of famine in the Sudan and Africa. A lone student standing up to governmental control was captured by Stuart Franklin’s photographic record before the blood bath that became Tiananmen Square. The photographers of Vietnam who showed the world what horrors were being encountered by both sides of the conflict. Lee Millar’s documentation of the concentration camps at the cessation of the war in 1945. The iconic photographs showing the destruction of the twin towers, whose repercussions are still being experienced today. Although there exists painted examples of the horrors perpetrated in war, acts of terrorism, pestilence and famine, to me because they are painted there somehow exists a greater physical distance between the subject and the viewer. And the notion that what is being viewed is not real, the use of artistic license. A distance that in-acts a removal of the true evocative nature of the event being immortalized, which is not present with a photographic account. Because the photograph is deemed to be a mechanical reproduction of the documented event, there is not as great an emotional distance between subject and viewer.


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