Thursday, February 5, 2009

photographs vs. drawing

So I've been the active participant in several discussions about the use of cameras and photographs in the realms of drawing. Some people say they are useless or distracting; that there is no need to use a camera that, instead, you should interpret what you see, not what the camera sees, to make a drawing. Others say they like to use photographs and replicate them to make really intricate drawings. I'm partial to cameras.

My admiration for photography came fairly recent. I bought my first digital camera from target for about 200$. I dabbled around previously with very low quality digital cameras, web cams, and a second hand camera I permanently borrowed from my sister (and later accidentally broke). I had always enjoyed taking photos, but found it to be a hassle to upload from some of the more archaic cameras of my past. And the quality was almost atrocious...

But it wasn't until I found myself walking almost everywhere, that a real admiration seemed to develop. It's almost amazing what details you can see when you go under 5 miles per hour. I often find myself wandering, with camera in hand, trying to find a part of the city I have neglected to see. Being a "big city" girl, there is a kind of peaceful feeling to being able to do that! Walking gives you almost an infinite amount of time to look. And photography, I have found, makes you even more aware of it. You often find yourself looking for an "interesting shot" or angle that you've never thought to try before. You start to notice small things like the way the cracks on the sidewalk bend, and how the grass seems to creep into the crevices. Shadows seem all the more interesting. You start to look at and understand the shapes of things you may often neglect. This is almost paramount in drawing.

It's kind of like making a visual catalog of all that you see. Lamps, walls, trees, grass, plants, ivy, anything really. Even people if you so wish. Something to draw from, literally. And, as an added benefit, you start to improve your photography, too.

I wouldn't give up photography for all the money in the world. But, as I said, I'm partial to it.

1 comment:

  1. Cathryn, You should really do an accompanying post with photographs of one of your walks. What you describe--that character of looking taking pictures creates--is SO connected to our class. I'd love to see some of them...