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Norman Rockwell: Photos as Tools in Painting

Up at the George Eastman House is an unconventional photography exhibit; one that showcases test shots and staged photographs instead of the usual fine art photography fare.

Featured are photographs taken by the American 20th century painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell for the purpose of using these photos as compositional tools in his work.

Originally eschewing the photograph as a lazy painter’s shortcut, he soon found that reference photographs were a better alternative to fatigued models sitting in the uncomfortable positions that Rockwell’s painterly eye would require. Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera exhibits various photographs taken by the artist, juxtaposed against the finished painting, illustrating the artist’s meticulous process.

Photo via stanprokopenko.com

Sometimes paintings are directly lifted from a photographed scene; sometimes a combination of poses strewn across different photographs are combined to form the final image. One gets a sense of how involved Rockwell was in the creation of the image, seeing multiple poses, props and settings on different reference photographs used for a single work.

Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts, in collaboration with guest curator Ron Schick, Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera is a wealth of information on one of the more important American artists of the 20th century. The exhibit will run until the 18th of September at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

For more information, go to rochestercitynewspaper.com.

written by sleepswimming

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