Stand Back! I’m about to sound scientific. A painting or drawing is a 2 dimensional artistic representation of an object that the viewer of the work cannot see. The artist creates a drawing as they wish to relate with their interpretation of the subject they are drawing. Or, as in my case, forced to interpret it. It seems my drawing skills are rather lacking.
A picture normally or painted as either an exact duplicate of what the artist sees, think of Leonardo Da Vinci’s anatomy sketches, or it is heavily manipulated by the artist, think of Monet. If the artist does not wish for an object to be in his picture, he can simply draw the picture without it. His tools to do this job are his mind, a pencil, and paintbrushes, even his fingers. He can also manipulate the mix of colors to give him the effect he is looking for.
A photograph is a drawn picture with light using technology, not in hours, but parts of a second. A photographer worries about the lens, the amount of light, where the light is, the colors, and what angle gives the subject the best perspective. The hardest part is understanding and manipulating your camera and equipment to give you the picture you are looking for.
Another major difference is the ability for the painter or drawing artist to start over. If the artist does not like the picture that they are making they can easily throw it away and start from the beginning.
Some areas of photography do not have that luxury. Wish as you might, you would never get that squirrel to sit in the tree and eat a nut in exactly the same pose when you took that first photo. While it is possible for the photographer to manipulate the image in a way much like the drawing artist, it is much harder for the photographer to leave an entire tree out of the picture without it looking phony.
In the end, photographers, painters, and sketches, are very similar after all. Photographers can even manipulate the images using software like a painter uses different brushes and palette knives. The main difference is that photography requires the use of technology to make it happen.
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