The Painter vs. The Camera

Lately I've wondered how I can push my paintings further past the source photographs I typically reference. I usually play with the colors, enhancing what the picture shows me, but I've had an itch to start manipulating the figures and environmental elements as well, similar to the work of my recently admitted artist crush, Thomas Hart Benton. Currently I am polishing off the final edits of my master's thesis and was inspired by this quote from interviews with eight great artists of the 20th century conducted by Peppino Mangravite, which I transcribed from materials found at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. I was particularly struck by the following quote from Graham Sutherland on the painter vs. the camera.

"Any painter sufficiently aware of the psychological forces that go to make a portrait can also learn what the camera can teach. The camera can teach a great deal about the detail of nature. But the artist must be able to add something more perfect, more revealing, than any camera portrait can do."

-Graham Sutherland, from interview with Peppino Mangravite, June 6, 1955