Skip to content

What do these pictures have in common?

Page 222 - Yigal Ozeri. Untitled; Aquabella. 2011. Oil on paper, 42 x 60". Courtesy Abrams.

Page 222 – Yigal Ozeri. Untitled; Aquabella. 2011. Oil on paper, 42 x 60″. Courtesy Abrams.

Page 242 - John Salt. A-OK Auto. 2002-3. Casein on linen, 43 x 66.5". Courtesy Abrams.

Page 242 – John Salt. A-OK Auto. 2002-3. Casein on linen, 43 x 66.5″. Courtesy Abrams.

Page 232 - Rod E. Penner. House with Pickup Truck. 2000. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 30". Courtesy Abrams.

Page 232 – Rod E. Penner. House with Pickup Truck. 2000. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 30″. Courtesy Abrams.

If you’ve read the captions, you already know what these pictures have in common. They’re all paintings. Not photographs. Paintings. By some of the world’s greatest photorealists, artists who snap photos and then paint exacting, realistic copies of them. Some of the paintings are so detailed and meticulous that the artist produces only one or two a year, or one every few years.

These photos … er, paintings … er, photos of paintings of photos … are from a book by Louis K. Meisel — Photorealism in the Digital Age — released this year.

For more images and information about the photorealists, see Wired’s “These Photos Are Actually Paintings.”

9 Comments »

    • I can’t imagine the patience and determination it would take to do one of these … painting every one of those leaves, getting the shadows and veins exactly right on each one. I suppose as a kid I thought realism was the goal in painting a picture, but … now … I don’t get this. It’s more like a parlor trick or something.

  1. I think the motivation is the same as it always has been. Something moves a painter to capture it – so they do. How they do it is up to the artist. It just so happens that now we have tools to help a painter capture the minutia. I think they are amazing.

    • Certainly cameras have changed the game for painters. Now they can capture a scene on film and then paint it at leisure, with no concern about the light changing or the clouds moving, a model getting tired, etc.

  2. Copying ordinary snapshots by meticulously painting. What would the psychologists say about this? Photography is considered an art, but what value is added in this process? Is it evidence of a form of compulsive behavior? Makes me think of children’s passion for coloring books, but grown-up. Also, the old paint-by-numbers, evolved. Worlds largest ball of string? I may have a form of it in a passion for the puzzle, sudoku, in which there’s nothing much to be learned, just an endless fascination with numbers and their patterns. Crosswords too? At least those have a function in building vocabulary. Taken to an extreme, I wonder if this human trait might be behind Congress’ endless passion for tinkering with the laws? Maybe things would get better if we sent them painting-by-numbers kits? 🙄

    • I suppose maybe it’s a personal challenge of sorts, to see if they can produce a painting that is indistinguishable from a photograph. Sort of the opposite of impressionism. Certainly there is considerable talent and patience involved. Having done some painting as a young woman, I can assure you no mere paint-by-number routine can produce pictures like this.

      As for Congress, surely you know they aren’t merely “tinkering.” Heavens no. They are “improving,” “fixing,” “working for the betterment of all Americans,” etc. 😉

"Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got." ~ Art Buchwald

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: