January 29, 2020
“Dinner is never just dinner” -is the a tagline from an electronic billboard advertisement seen around Las Vegas lately. Similarly, a party pic is more than just that—it’s meaningful. Everybody knows amateurs rule photography. Professional photographers agree. Amateur photographs are also an ideal reference for painting, unlike professional photos (stock photos), or the photographs of trained photographers. I’m the latter, which is why I need reference matter from amateurs. A photograph is a complete statement. To paint from my own photograph is like a writer quoting himself. Amateur photographers, by analogy, can’t paint, and so, therefore, I am speculating (as a professional), that there is interest in developing amateur pics as paintings. Think of it—an enlargement of a cherished social event hanging on the wall, at a cost competitive with printing. Before iPhones, and other smartphone cameras, photographic film had to be developed by a lab and returned as little paper prints. They were easily damaged, faded in time, and the negatives were irreplaceable. If digital photography changed all that, it limited the experience of viewing—and enjoyment—to the smartphone, or computer laptop screen. Files can be copied infinitely (great for archival purposes), but digitally viewed makes for a solitary experience. Photography is, and ever was, factual—information, really, or even defined as data (not to put too fine a point on it). What it is not is a party favor. Developed as a painting, all that can change. Hang it on the wall and call it art. Art is meant to be shown, not buried in an archive, or it’s fate is to sit on the shelf with other curiosities of the past, like specimens in a museum.