The interplay of painting and photography

Hey everyone!

Today I want to take you on a little tour through the history of Arts. In this post I’ll focus on the beginnings of photography and its interplay with the art of painting.

Since the advent of photography around 1830, photographers and painters considered themselves competitors. Nevertheless there were always mutual influences. In the 19th century salon painting gained a lot of appreciation, so photographers focused more on studio photography which aimed to imitate representational portrait painting.

About 1870/80 the Era of Impressionism began and a lot of painters started to focus more on light conditions within a painting. In photography Pictorialism emerged and both movements were characterized by their lack of details and their soft focus. Impressionist painters drew a lot of inspiration from Chronophotography (Continuous shootings by e.g. Muybridge inspired painters like Degas who also started to capture movements)


At the beginning of the 20th century Cubism, with its questing and analyzing approach to pictures, emerged. Constructivist photography, DADA and surrealist photography were highly affected by Cubism. The stroboscopic images by the photographers on the other hand inspired the futurists.



The evolving techniques of cameras soon allowed to work with parameters like focus depth. This is how photography paved the way for Photorealism around 1970. In Pop-art as well as DADA even a mixture of the techniques can be found in photomontages and collages.




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