DAVID HOCKNEY on Painting and Photography

‘Photography is only good for mechanical reproduction’.

‘Photography can’t show time’   ‘

‘I’ve seen professional photographers shoot hundreds of pictures but they are all basically the same. They are hoping that in one fraction of a second something will make that face look as if there were a longer moment…If you take a hundred, surely one will be good. It could be anybody doing it… There are few good photographs, and those good ones that do exist are almost accidental. Photography has failed…How many truly memorable pictures are there? Considering the millions of photographs taken, there are few memorable images in this medium, which should tell us something. Photography can’t lead us to a new way of seeing. It may have other possibilities but only painting can extend the way of seeing’

I have found Hockney’s comments interesting, as my primary focus has been in capturing light digitally and reproducing as frame images which are essentially composed photograph collages.  It will be worthwhile exploring the possibilities of traditional painting and the photographing of such paintings in my work. I agree that memories though more ‘realistic’ in a photograph are never entirely captured but I disagree, that photographs don’t tell us anything.  I am actually wondering, whether photographs should need to convey meaning or are they able to stand as aesthetic work on their own?

Hockney did actually explore photography and the camera in his work. He has even explored iphone technology (see next blog article) Looking at these images now, reminds me of the frame I have used in my ow work; however, he breaks apart an image into parts whereas my work is made up of separate images of light. I think it is interesting that he still displays a traditional form in the photograph collages e.g. portraiture. There is an element of Cubism to the work, yet not a complete abstraction of the subject. I also love his idea of capturing a moment, a splash left

Photography is a reproduction but it is also (in the case of my work) an unreliable copy. As for time, photography captures a moment and creates a stillness, yet light travels.  This is fascinating.



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