We live in a visual world. Photography products dominate us and define what we have to realize as reality (and truth). I want to counter that photographic dominance by the skills of a painter. Therefore I created a project called “Photo Versus Painting”. The following text describes the current state of my concept. If you are interested to participate in that exciting project as an artist (especially as a photographer and/or model) or to combine it with your own creative visions, don’t hesitate to contact me.


The photo is classified as objective. Nowadays the photo (besides the movie as a medium) has a claim to power when we talk about the reportage of reality. Photography as a light box for truth, as a documentation of contemporary occurrences. What you can’t find on a photo, that doesn’t exist. Every event and state needs photos to be noticed in public. Every photo, published online or by print media, seems to be true – by self-definition – and a natural objective copy of our reality. Therefore the photo also develops a social and a political dimension and demand.

But the photo isn’t objective. Picture’s motif and selection are always the result of the photographer’s decision and depend on his intuition, intention and on his artistic-manual competences. That’s why a photo doesn’t possess any objectivity. It only documents one possible reality, but not the only trueness. Also a lot of different view angles are thinkable and real. Why do we look at a photo with other eyes than we look at a painting? Why the motif itself is most important for a photo (and not the artistic competence at first)? On the other hand: why do we face paintings in a different way (the creative expression at first and the motif afterwards)? My project “Photo Versus Painting” wants to discuss these questions by a creative contrasting juxtaposition of painting and photo.


I want to unmask the photo – as an instrument of objective portrayal – by painting means and to lay open the only seeming reality. The omnipresent arbitrariness in colours and forms will be picked out as a central theme: the presentation of shallowness as content, just as content that stays only superficially so that it doesn’t hurt brain, body and soul. This project questions the photo’s claim of absoluteness, and so it also questions – as a consequence – the present presentation of reality in our public and private environment. That question is very important because we live in a world within more than one exclusive trueness. In other words: does truth (or what we respectively define as truth) exist?

The project aim: no borders exist except the own optical cognition, and nothing is absolute or frozen any longer and bite-sized served by the eyes of a photographic object lens. Everything is possible again and can happen, and the picture will lose its corruption and cheating because it isn’t qualified for a mass manipulation any longer. Painting isn’t and shouldn’t be an alternative draft of the photo. As well as photography, painting is never universally valid, it is subjective and only for an individual a part of his own and a single reality. A painting is not better than a photo, not more innocent, and of course not more objective and true. The only invulnerable reality and truthfulness is inside of us and a completely intimate interpretation of the outer world. The picture itself is only a picture, different for each viewer, and the picture isn’t an agent or mediator.

Nudes and body studies are – more than less necessarily – fitting motifs for this kind of project, for the photographic starting point just as for a painting transformation. Why? Nakedness, the lack of any distance is free (or maybe seems to be free) from a subjective manipulation. On the other hand: I don’t know any other artistic field (in photography just as and in painting) that possesses such a strong urge of an artist’s intervention. That’s a great playground and a creative conflict situation, and both facts give additional thrill for the project.


The creative framework of the project has to be defined and will act as basic rules for a successful creative teamwork of painter, photographer and model(s). These standards are preliminary at present and composed of following approaches and considerations:

1. The source, the initial point, the photo should keep its artistic independence. Despite of any creative handling and transformation, the photo has to be identified as photographic work at all levels of the process.

2. Photo and painting have to possess a thematic bonding to each other. In the eye of the beholder these significant points of reference in form and content should be accessible without complex explanations. This approach also comprises the colouring.

3. The project and the different process steps – starting with the photo and ending with the painting – should be documented and display the estrangement of the photographic motif (or in other words: the return to a subjective cognition of reality).

4. Regardless of any reduction, the canvas painting has to bear its own creative statement and beauty (better: a subjective definition of beauty). The reduction itself cannot be the only justification of a painting. The painting should also affect the audience without an accompanying photo.

5. Additional question: what about interactive elements that apparently or actually neutralize or annul the two-dimensional reduction? What is needful to reach that aim: maybe a creative interaction with the motif, an influence of the model? Will this exercise of influence reduce the individual (photographer’s or painter’s) angle of view or will it reinforce the level of subjectivity?

To be continued…