Thursday, October 01, 2009

Trompe l'oeil

Not what it seemed

I was pulling apart Wednesday's issue of the Sacramento Bee when a photograph caught my eye. I didn't immediately recognize that it was a photograph. When I first glimpsed it, I thought it was a realistic painting in the style of Norman Rockwell (as in his self-portrait). Only when I looked right at it did I realize it was a news photo.

I have no idea whether Bee photographer Manny Crisostomo was going for this effect when he snapped the shot. Or perhaps it was something in the way the photo was processed for publication in the newspaper. Does it strike you the way it struck me?

8 comments:

Oded Shimon said...

You'll have to be a bit more blunt... :( I can't even tell WHICH photo you are referring to (the top one or bottom one) let alone what effect it is you are talking about...

The Ridger, FCD said...

yes. It does look like a Rockwell. Something about the younger male chef (student?) especially, but also the woman. Very Rockwellian.

Divalent said...

It looks like it was taken in ambient light using a sensor ISO that was pushing the capabilities of the camera, so high level of digital noise that was made worse by using an overly aggressive amount of a sharpening filter (which was used to compensate for the poor focus; the focal plane appears to be a few feet beyond the male chef holding the fork). IOW, while the composition is interesting, technically it's not a good photograph, and the surreal appearance is due to the combinaiton of poor technical quality and the steps used to salvage it. (For a newspaper, it's probably fine.)

Oded Shimon said...

Please let me in... What's Rockwell? Wikipedia shows a lot of results, several of them artists...

I don't understand the reference...

Phillip Moon said...

Norman Rockwell was an American artist in the first half of the 20th century. He was known for painting pictures that were of a more innocent America.

If all you ever saw of America is what Norman Rockwell painted, it would be close to the bland heaven believed in by most Christians. They were wonderful pictures, but reflected a small and vanishing part of our country.

Zeno said...

I think we should give Norman Rockwell a little more credit that than, Phillip. While most of his work was as an illustrator who depicted mainstream Americana, he was willing to criticize the nation's flaws. In The Problem We All Live With he compellingly denounced racism.

William said...

Zeno, are you familiar with
HDR photography
? I don't think that's in play here, but I mention it because it's often said to give a painted look to photographs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you need to be more clear.

What exactly is a painting?