I’d never really thought of it before, but after reading his comment in an interview with Sunday Telegraph Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon, it became obvious that when these past masters painted their muses, using brain and eyes they were manipulating the image before them, enhancing and editing what they saw to produce their interpretation of the model’s likeness on canvas.
To quote Bailey: “When Medici said to Raphael: “I fancy that bit of stuff over in Portugal, can you go and take a photo of her?” he didn’t show her dandruff and her scabby skin and her black teeth and the spots, did he? He used Renaissance Photoshop.”
Therefore, what we do as photographers today, when we remove blemishes, enhance and sculpt form into aesthetically pleasing images, is create the vision we see before us in the most flattering and visually acceptable way for our clients.
Understandably some artists chose to portray their subjects, ‘warts and all’, as do some photographers today, but from the sitter’s point of view, the portrait should show them in the best possible light and that’s what they are prepared to pay for. Equally there are those who wish to embrace the surreal and be transformed totally into an unrecognizable work of art.
A portrait is defined as someone’s likeness; this must be open to interpretation by the artist or photographer. But whether an exponent of classical schools or those of Picasso, Dali and the modernists, what yesterday’s artists and Renaissance photoshop would make of Adobe Photoshop today, can only be imagined, and what the likes of DaVinci could have produced using this powerful creative will never be known.
If you need a corporate portrait or headshot for your business or social media call a commercial photographer in West Berkshire