Midterm Position Paper Draft 2

Midterm Position Paper Draft 2 - Jason Lau Midterm Position...

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Jason Lau Midterm Position Paper 2/22/12 Paint Me a Photo Photography upon its invention has struggled as an art form, as paintings have long since been forerunners of self-expression. The first legal judgment of photography as an art form did not arise until 1862 in France, when a photographer sued another person for using his photographs. However, photography was not yet considered to be art, so photographs were not protected under French copyright laws. Photography was eventually legally deemed a form of art, but that did not allow photographers to be respected as artists. Photographers through experimentation learned to master their medium and create pieces of art that rivaled paintings. They were able to advance photography to share the same prestige that paintings enjoyed. Photography has become a medium of expression that now has the same potential as paintings. There is substantial overlap between photography and painting in terms of aesthetic qualities. For example, they both have a distinct composition and are restricted to a defined frame. Because of this inherent similarity, people often view photographs with the same visual standards as paintings. Composition, color, and subject material are all factors that make photographs and paintings visually powerful. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother are both influential portraitures that have both achieved the status of visual masterpieces. Although completely different mediums, they are visually compelling in the sense that they share similar triangular compositions, natural pose, and gentle countenance. Because of this, they have become symbolic images of the historical and geographical context in which they were created. From these two masterpieces, we see that a photograph can be as compelling as a painting because of the same aesthetic qualities and standards they both share. Though they differ in artistic method and medium, both are similar on a visual level. Photographs are just as accessible as paintings, if not more. In order to be shared, both photographs and paintings require an audience. They cannot express their contents without a viewer to visually receive them. With this in mind, photographs in comparison to paintings have a greater potential at reaching a much wider audience. Paintings in a sense were “handicapped from the start by being a fine art, with each object a unique, handmade original” (Sontag 39). A painting can really only exist as an original piece; reproductions lose much of a painting’s original essence. A painting in a book or on the Internet is merely just a photograph of it.
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Jason Lau Midterm Position Paper 2/22/12 Because of this, a person can only truly view a painting in its original essence by seeing it in person. Photographs are much more flexible in these kinds of situations. Sontag states that “a photograph loses much less of its essential quality when reproduced in a book than a painting
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2012 for the course WRIT 039 taught by Professor Stein during the Spring '08 term at UPenn.

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Midterm Position Paper Draft 2 - Jason Lau Midterm Position...

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