Before reading this post, please, look at the pictures in this article and answer only one question: are these people photographers or artists?

We believe that it would be fair to call them both artists and photographers, as they do things that seem impossible. Working in the style of photorealism, these people sometimes depict reality even more real than it really is. Isn’t it amazing?

By the way, if you are already sick and tired of sitting at your homes in quarantine, just think: photorealists can spend weeks, months and even years working on their paintings. We have a lot to learn from them, especially right now.

Photorealism developed from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionism as well as Minimalist art movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This genre of art embraces painting, drawing and other graphic media. In the beginning, an artist studied a photograph to gather the information and then he attempted to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium.

On our website, prabook.com, you have a chance to learn more about this art movement as well as about some of it most outstanding representatives, including Gerhard Richter, Anthony Brunelli, Glennray Tutor, Mary Frances Pratt, Vija Celmins. All of them have their own exciting stories of how and why they came to this controversial style. Why controversial? Because initially, it was not clear who belonged to this group.

In general, the word ‘Photorealism’ was coined by Louis K. Meisel, an American author, art dealer and proponent of the photorealist art movement, in 1969. The word appeared in print for the first time in 1970 in a Whitney Museum catalogue for the show “Twenty-two Realists.” And in two years Meisel developed a five-point definition for the ‘originators’ of the style. Here they are:

  1. The Photo-Realist uses the camera and photograph to gather information.
  2. The Photo-Realist uses a mechanical or semi-mechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas.
  3. The Photo-Realist must have the technical ability to make the finished work appear photographic.
  4. The artist must have exhibited work as a Photo-Realist by 1972 to be considered one of the central Photo-Realists.
  5. The artist must have devoted at least five years to the development and exhibition of Photo-Realist work. [Meisel (1980), p. 13]

However, as with many modern art movements, Photorealism didn’t have any clear structure or unified purpose, so adhering to any or all of Louis K. Meisel’s qualifications was elective.

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