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Sunday, 27 September 2015


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Thank you, Mike, for the link to Bob's remarkable film and thank you, Bob, for making it. Thanks too for the comments about Marshall's House.

I always enjoy seeing photos of sites also known in well-known paintings, because it can tell you a lot about both the photographer and the painter. There are a couple of books in which photographers tracked down scenes painted by Cezanne, and the comparisons tell you a whole lot about what we mean by "realism." In Hopper's painting, the proportions aren't quite right, and neither is the overall perspective, but boy, he really nailed the feel of the place. As is the case with the famous Ranch de Taos church, shot by a number of famous photographers, and painted by Georgia O'Keeffe. In my research, good painters always win on "feel," the photographers on accuracy.

Well that's fun!

It is always interesting to me to see two images that are so close but captured at different times. The photo was taken just at the right time, with shadows falling nearly the same and the angle of the house front seems about the same... but we do not see the side of the building in the photo but do in the painting. So I am trying to figure out what changed and I think it is the Hopper must have been farther away, viewing from more of a distance and very slightly camera right. The effect is some compression as would be expected from a longer focal length... or do I have that all wrong?

One of the things that stands out to me is the amount of additional trees and shrubbery in the "now" image. I see the same effect when I look at urban "then and now" photographs of pretty much any city. It seems that in the 1930s and 40s our cities were almost completely denuded of trees outside of designated parks. Now many of our city streets are lined with trees, which makes for a much nicer urban living experience (although it's harder to photograph buildings).

It's always a challenge to replicate a painters vision of an actual location. Anyone who has made the trek to visit the Olson house in Cushing, Maine quickly realizes that although the architecture remains,the perspectives in Andrew Wyeth's, "Christina's World" were composed in the mind of the artist.

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