A Snapshot of Photorealism

Taking photos are a way to capture the essence of a moment. The fine aspects in the forefront and background lend truth to the adage a picture is worth a thousand words. It is from this ideal that the art form of Photorealism was created. The concept became popular in the United States in the 60s. It is often linked to the Pop Art movement which preceded the newer perspective. Photorealism is not for the impatient as it requires a great deal of time and a steady hand.


Most art forms have no prerequisites other than a creative touch and the spirit to create. Photorealism on the other hand holds necessary skills and attributes that an artist needs to be successful. Patience is a primary necessity during the process of photorealism. A firm grasp of shading, color and texture is useful when working with aspects of photos. It takes time and practice to cultivate these techniques allowing artists of all levels to work with the form.

Detail Oriented

When you look at a photograph, the camera physically encapsulates every detail large and small. Transferring the intricacy onto a canvas has a focus on lighting and angular perspectives. Many who see Photorealism often think it is the actual photo versus an image painted by the artist. Specific hues and particular visual cues are precisely perfected leading to the confusion. Fine lines and soft curves of the subject are evident in the photo and the painting. This makes it a part of the realism family of art that has become so vastly popular.

Realism Defined

Understand realism will bring us back to earlier eras. Before impressionism persuaded the art scene for future generations, realism was the view of the world. Creating an exact replica was determined to be proper and artistic until the artists such as Monet, Renoir and Manet added a perceptual vision. Unlike impressionistic works, realism focused on physical objects, people and detailed exploration of the surroundings. Connecting Photorealism to realism itself is a correct depiction when transforming photo images.

Photorealism Today

Photorealism Today
Photorealism Today

Similar to their predecessors, Photorealism is not subjected to one item or topic. Artists can use any photos taken of people, places or things to use as their muse. Modernly speaking, Photorealism has captivated a nostalgic tone. Memories and spheres of a past time have become a popular display of art with distinctive notes of charm. Many older photos are in black and white which gives the artist an opportunity to portray the mood of the setting. You can see famed Photorealism pieces at museums and shows where renowned artists and novice newcomers share their talents with us all.

Photorealism is an intricate technique of painting that takes realism into a broadened perspective. Seeing the photo and the finished piece side by side is awe inspiring to both an artists peers and the public. Moving from the 60s and flourishing in the 70s, Photorealism has become a timeless work of art.