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Introduction to Aesthetics and Visual Culture

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Artists, or more specifically painters, used to be the only people who could recreate the world. If a person wanted to hang a picture of themselves on the wall, then the person would have to hire a portrait painter. A person was able to look at a landscape or a sunset, but only an artist could capture that image so that the image could be viewed over and over again. Before photography was developed, artists had a monopoly on the recreation of reality. Once photography was developed to an extent to where it became a reliable technology, it became the easier, more accepted way to recreate reality. It did not require any training or technical skill to take a photograph, and as opposed to hours an hour that a portrait painting would require, photography was a relatively quick process.

Furthermore, what needs to be considered is how artists attempted to recreate more and more realistic works through painting and other mediums. Upon viewing artwork from an ancient civilization, the human figure is presented more figuratively. As art progressed, paintings became more and more detailed until around the Renaissance and beyond when painting became extremely detailed and realistic. This progress was made over centuries, but then photography came along and was able to not only create a realistic picture but was able to recreate exactly within the scope of a lens. Of course, we know this did not render painting useless.

Instead of making painting and other mediums anachronistic, the technological development of the photograph worked to push artists into new directions. While paintings used to function to attempt to capture reality and preserve it, painting needed to find someway else to function in order to remain relevant. While photography was able to capture precisely what was within its frames, it was also limited to capturing what was within its frames. The painting then needed to turn&nbsp.to capturing what was beyond the scope of reality or what was literally able to be seen with one’s eyes.&nbsp.