Ever since the invention of photography in the 19th century, people have said that photography would be the death of painting. Nearly two hundred years later, painters are still arguably the dominant artisan.
For contemporary artist / photographer Matthew McKnight, photography is still the future of fine art image-making more so than any other medium, including painting. With the current state of camera technology and the ability to digitally manipulate images, he sees the present as a major turning point for photography as a fine art form.
In striving for photography to live up to the potential for the medium, McKnight experiments with ways to use a camera to create painting-like images. He cites a couple generations of photographers who have paved the way for this, such as Jeff Wall, Gregory Crewdson, and Alex Prager.
Photography’s barrier to fully overtaking painting is, of course, the physical limitation of the medium. Therefore, McKnight finds it important for his images to incorporate some level of fantastical elements that he can incorporate without Photoshop. He like for these elements to be subtle and not over-the-top, as if they belong.
In his “Hueman” series, McKnight merges the genres of realism and expressionism as in experiment in the unique potential of photography. The outward-facing color is a sign of emotions and thoughts hidden inside.
In the images, it’s up to the viewer to interpret how the characters are feeling or what they’re thinking. Just like reality, there’s no way to know for sure.
Matthew McKnight’s Hueman series is ongoing. You can view the latest in the series here.
All images in this article are copyrighted by the artist and were used with permission.