All art is made in a relationship to photography. The photographic document in recent conceptu wal art derived from the objective photographic tradition in Weimar Germany. These ideas spread to other countries through the diaspora of the 1930s.
Objectivity is problematic, a photograph is not simply a scientific object as artists such as the Bechers found out. At the same time developments in photographic processes lent a patina to a photograph, which became part of the image in Richter’s great early black and white t.v. images. Beside the subtleties of historic photographs, we have a whole world of contemporary photographs, films, video, t.v., stills, black and white, colour, digital images and the reproduction of paintings, illustrations and adverts.
The manipulation of digital images is itself a kind of painting as we know in the work of Jeff Wall. He uses the high technology of film gained on the West Coast from space technology and the arms race. Between seeing an wd photographing and between seeing and painting is always the intervention of memory, the passage of time even in a split second.
Goethe told Eckermann: “All eras in a state of desolution have a subjective tendency but all progressive eras have a tendency to objectivity.” These painters have convinced me we are at a point of delicate balance, that is just beginning to trip over into an objective period. It is in this relationship of painting to photography, the relationship between drawing and seeing, that we might have amongst us the painters of the beginings of a more rational and humane modern period.