Whenever we discuss the history of photography, we will encounter a comparison with painting. The inevitable comparison goes everywhere, from the death of painting to sustainability advantages for either. Regardless, let’s solve a timeless argument: did photography kill painting?
Photography has many advantages, with a rich history built on years of hard work and dedication. Painting became the precursor to photography but did the latter indeed kill painting? The answer is yes and no, and here’s why.
Capturing Images Through Painting
Painting, as a medium, dates back to historical times. The first recorded painting were cave paintings that date back to prehistory. The oldest cave painting in the world has been found in Indonesia by researchers. They found at least 45,500-year-old pictures of wild pigs in the ruins.
Painting has stood the test of time—its origination and advancement—and has persisted to modern times. The medium has been widely used and experimented with and even includes digital painting, where digital painting programs make use of vectors and rasters, along with digital painting techniques such as photo manipulation and blending.
For centuries, humans have used paintings to depict nature and society. Canvas painting became a must-have skill for artists, creating images of their patrons in what we know today as portraits. This funded their artistic endeavors, and it worked like a cursory version of what we now know as a “picture”.
The Emergence of Photography
The fascination with capturing images through painting continued to evolve. In 1839, Daguerre’s photography process was announced and patented. Daguerre’s process involved using silver-coated copper plates, which he called daguerreotype, to capture images.
This form of photography had been developed a few years before, and Daguerre’s process allowed for a higher-quality image. Regardless, photography as a science was older, dating back to the early 1700s.
Photography wasn’t an overnight success. It took more than 20 years for photography to achieve its recognition. In 1839, the first photography exhibition was held in Paris, organized by the Société d’encouragement pour le commerce des imprimeries (SECI).
The organization aimed to promote French photography and had the exhibition a huge success, with photography being acknowledged as a modern art form. However, like painting, photography was subject to criticism. Some critics believed photography was inferior to painting in terms of aesthetics, while others thought it to be a short-lived medium.
Photography vs. Painting
Painting never truly died, but rather how people used the medium to capture moments, realism, and portraits. However, this type of painting didn’t “die” until the turn of the century, when photography became the go-to medium for capturing images.
But did photography kill painting? Well, it’s an interesting question. Photography was a natural progression for painting, but painting remained a viable medium for capturing images.
Photography and painting both present different challenges, but both have their strengths. For example, painting can produce images with depth and texture. On the other hand, photography can capture the same scene but in detail.
For example, Picturesque photography uses high-resolution photography to capture the details and texture of the scenery. It presents the most realistic view, but it requires a lot of post-processing. The image may be sharp, but it lacks details.
A Comparison of Photography and Painting
Photography and painting do have their strengths and weaknesses, but, in the end, they both have their place. Photography’s advantage is the ability to scale images to any size. Paintings, however, can create vivid and lifelike images.
Painting, as a medium, is also versatile. It can be used for a wide range of styles. Photography, on the other hand, has limitations. Photography, for example, cannot capture the same scene as paint can, but digital painting can.
Photography and painting both have their benefits. Photography, for example, offers more ways to present images. Painting, on the other hand, allows for more artistic freedom. There’s also the idea of sustainability.
If you’re recycling old photographs, you’ll know that photos don’t last too long. Photo prints can last for as much as 100 years, depending on how they’re stored. Paintings can last shorter, but people are more likely to preserve paintings, hence their longevity.
How Did Photography Affect Painting?
Photography, as a medium, quickly progressed and gained massive popularity. The advancement in photography forced painting to evolve. Paintings, for example, were limited to oil paints. However, painting on fabric became possible through the introduction of the canvas.
Paintings, however, didn’t just become limited to canvas. They evolved to include acrylics, watercolors, and pastels. The inclusion of these mediums opened up the possibilities in painting. Paintings also evolved to include photography. Many artists used photography as a reference for their artworks.
Paintings also evolved to include digital image. Digital painting programs became indispensable elements for artists everywhere who don’t have the resources to do manual painting work like paints, canvases, and studios.
Why Did Photography Become More Popular?
Photography, too, has evolved. Digital photography, for example, allows photographers to create images from scratch without the need for physical media and dark rooms. Digital photography allows photographers to capture images without a camera through a digital camera, tablet, or smartphone.
Image manipulators also allow photographers to edit images, manipulate images, and add effects. Digital photography programs also offer more ways to produce prints and create art simultaneously.
Image manipulation programs have turned into art programs, allowing photographers to fuse their photographs with famous artworks. Photographers can, for example, merge popular paintings with portraiture.
Future of Painting and Photography
Photography has countless possibilities, and it continues to grow. The future of photography is endless, growing as the world consistently moves forward.
The future of photography is bright, especially with the advent of technology. We’ve seen massive advancements, and we have seen even more advances. We’re excited to see what the future has in store for photography.
Painting, as a medium, continues to thrive. Painting has evolved, and it will continue to grow. The incorporation of technology in painting has further expanded the possibilities of painting. Digital art is blurring the line between painting and photography, building on both media.
Ultimately, painting didn’t die. It remained a viable medium for capturing images. Photography, however, became the go-to medium for capturing images. Photography, however, did have an impact on painting. In painting, for example, acrylics and pastels were added as new mediums. Photography was also integrated into the medium too.
Painting, as a medium, didn’t die, and it didn’t die because of photography. Both are fantastic art processes, and they are both enjoyable to all budding artists.