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IntroductionPhoto-Realism or photorealism - Realist paintings and sculptures involving thorough reproduction of detail. In painting the results were nearly photographic—in fact made from photographs (although painters had been working from photographs since the early days of photography). Although its center was in the United States, the Photo-Realism movement was also strong in Europe from the late 1960s into the 1970s, where his type of illusionism is known principally as superrealism. Among the most highly regarded American photorealist painters are Richard Estes (1932-), Chuck Close (1940-), Audrey Flack (1931-), Charles Bell (1935-1995), and Ralph Goings (1928-).
DefinitionPhotorealism is an art genre that combines painting, drawing, and other graphic mediums to reproduce a photograph in the most realistic way possible in another medium. This technique became a popular art movement in the United States from 1960 to 1970.
HistoryPhotorealism began in the late 1960s, when artists started projecting photographs on canvases, oftentimes with the use of an airbrush. The invention of photography in the 19th century was believed to be the driving factor for this art form. With many artists shifting to photography during that time, portraits and scenic artworks seemed inferior when compared to a photograph taken by a camera.1 However, today’s modern artists no longer strictly follow the ideas of photorealism in their current works. Photorealism is now starting to evolve into a whole new movement which they call Hyperrealism. This new method uses the latest camera, digital equipment, and photography technologies in creating a new line of artwork. These new developments allow the artists to be more precision-oriented in their works.
As An Art FormPhotorealism is believed to have evolved from Pop Art and Minimalism. Also referred to as Super Realism, this movement takes photography as its primary inspiration. Photorealist painters create illusionistic images that don’t refer directly to nature, but to the reproduced photographs of it. In the same way, there are many sculptors who had successfully adapted the concepts of photorealism into their casts. Using live models, they attempted to achieve a simulated reality.2 However, photorealism was not to exist without criticism. Many art critics misunderstood artworks of this type to be purely imitations. The challenge for photorealist artists has always been to replicate a scene with the bold details that they’ve seen, while vividly representing the changes and motions in the photo the way it was frozen in time. This is the reason why true Photorealism cannot exist without a photograph.
Famous ArtworksThree of the most prominent artworks of the Photorealism movement are John Baeder’s ‘John’s Diner with John’s Chevelle’ (2007), ‘Ralph’s Diner’ (1982) by Ralph Goings, and ‘Dream of Love’ (2005) by Glennray Tutor.
Famous ArtistsThe other famous artists whose works are strongly associated to the Photorealism movement are Robert Bechtle, Charles Bell, Tom Blackwell, Chuck Close, Robert Cottingham, Ian Hornak, Don Eddy, Howard Kanovitz, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Johyn Kacere, Ron Kleemann, Malcolm Morley, and John Salt, among others.