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Re: [teacherartexchange] copying from photographs


From: Woody Duncan (woodyduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Mar 05 2008 - 13:32:37 PST

I could not agree more that drawing from observation of 3-D objects
is indeed the best way to train a young artist.
Of course if they want a tiger or elephant in their composition I'd
allow them to use photos from magazines as
a source - but never to copy the entire photograph. As you so clearly
have said, the camera has flattened space
for you. Having said all of this, I must confess that I rely on
photos all the time. Of course I trained my eye or brain
by drawing from observation long ago. And, I only work from my own
photos. I use my camera and my computer
as my sketchbook selecting my compositions. I would not work from
other's photos - I've tried - It just does not
feel right or work well for me. I'm teaching a watercolor workshop
this week to adults - and we will start by drawing from
real stuff - just to make that very point. Of course I'll tell them I
usually use photos - my own photos.

On Mar 5, 2008, at 12:59 PM, Ellen Burnside wrote:

> I have recently encountered a disagreement with my fellow art
> teacher (also department head). She liberally employs the practice
> of copying photographs in her classes, from using reference photos
> for a 1 pt perspective drawing to making an exact drawing of a
> photograph using the grid method. I believe that there are
> copyright issues involved here. Even if this type of copying is
> allowed for student work I don't think it is advisable to promote a
> habit that is not accepted later in life when these students are
> out of school. I also think that using a photograph constricts
> originality and creativity. Furthermore, I feel the decisions of
> composition, value range and how to effectively represent 3D space
> have already been decided by the photographer who took the original
> picture. I believe that it is more helpful to students to learn to
> draw from life. I am wondering what the views of other art teachers
> are on this matter. I'm also wondering if anyone knows of any
> research or published arguements on the subject that represent
> either side.

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