What's behind the curtains

in #art2 years ago

Hi friends,
I was chatting with some friends yesterday and we got into a deep conversation about artists and sourcing their references. To make a long story short, at the end of that chat I was like, yeah okay each artist to their own, if they dont wanna cite their references and get found out later, it's their choice, no skin off my bones~

But now that I've slept on it, I think I realized a fundamental flaw in that thinking:

I forgot that photographers are artists too

It's really a shame, but I sort of bypassed the fact that a photographer would have to make artistic choices with regards to what his model would be wearing, the lighting of the shot, the composition for the shot, and even the model that he will work with for a specific piece. Not to mention, the framing, the editing, and other legitimately creative directions that will generate a beautiful photography.

Heck, I have tried to take pretty pictures with my camera. Shit is NOT easy. It isn't just click one button and a gorgeous shot comes out automatically! (In fact, most of my photography is shitty) (They will not grace the light of day at any blog because I have shame) (lol)

So, I think it's important to change the thinking that only painters or illustrators are artists. Photography is often overlooked or belittled as FREE SHIT. This is kinda bad practice since I know a lot of photographers would welcome the words of mouths to spread, so as to gain more business or even just to bolster their branding online. The more searchable they are, the more discoverable they are.

If I rely on primarily one piece of photography to make an art, I think it is good form to give something back to that photographer and cite my sources. The photographer's name would then be known to my audience and I will be giving back something to my sources instead of just taking and treating their work as freebies.

On another note, I was told that revealing the base photo can be like asking a magician to share their secret magic tricks. I was perplexed with this at first (I never use references that's why my drawings are terrible) but I can understand the desire to want to seem ... 'magical', for lack of better word. Well, for one, you can use your own photos if your own photography is good enough to be used as a base for your artworks. If not? There are a lot of free to use photography out there for this purpose, I think. Pixabay, etc. Sure they will be easily searchable by others, but at least this way we are not taking photography and photographers' work for granted?

But more than that, if someone thinks seeing the base photo diminish the 'magic' off an artwork, just ask the silly person to make one themselves.

It is virtually impossible to gain an artist's experience, training, skills, and artistic eyes, just by seeing the source of the artwork. As I did say in the conversation, TO ME, it is wonderful to see what an artist makes out of commonplace references. TO ME, it is actually magical to see an artist's creative choices that generates their own interpretations out of their base photos. It's like seeing a jumper knitted out of a yarn of wool. The process, the decisions, the artistry matters.

Just cuz we can see the original picture, doesnt mean just anyone can come up with the quality, polish, creativity, and originality that a given artist can bring out from a base photograph!

tl;dr photographers are artists, yo

in summary, photography is a legitimate art. and pretty photographs shouldn't just be treated like freebies for painters / illustrators without some give back. THIS IS MY OPINION, btw. I'm not enforcing this on anyone. Just was ...tossing and turning last night, feeling as if I was missing something and wanting to be a better person out of the brain curling session so this was what I come out with, that's all~

OKAY so because I dont like to make a post without images and I need to demonstrate my point, I DID pick a photo off pixabay and I DID make a sketch out of it to accompany this ramblings of a post... which, you can see in the banner of this post!

This is the picture I chose from pixabay:

And the result was as the top image of this post~ Here it is again:

As you can see it is not a 1:1 direct translation as my eyes and brain made their own "director's" choices as to how to frame the inspiration as my own artwork.

And I dont think ....I dont think NOT showing the base picture adds to the "magic" of my piece, to be honest. Besides, if you know me, ...I am very comfortable with adding my own flairs and stories as I go so that picture was only half of what I really ended up with. I added characters so that there is a story in the artwork :D

Here is the finished piece:

I was thinking ... Star Wars? XD And I was thinking, a long journey through a dry and arid land, where the traveler did not entertain a hope in their heart that they would still be waited for, that there were still people that cared for them. And then, they looked up, and saw their people upon the high rock... !

Didn't have any references for the characters or the beast, so anatomically they may be not quite perfect, but for me it is more important to tell a story than to get things photorealistic~

Anyway, that's MY ramblings and my struggles. I don't mean to pontificate or lecture others. I genuinely was grappling with the topic of citing references for artists and this is what I came up with at the present moment. As usual, all opinions are welcome, please say your piece in the comments if you have your own thoughts on the matter. I find myself always open to challenges, to dialog, to learning what others have experienced, as we all have our own blind spots and the only way to grow is to share and learn from each other... Dont you think?

As a final bonus, here's a video of my drawing the artwork in this post :>

Alrighty, that's all from me for now. Please excuse my stream of consciousness type of writing and I hope you are all having a good day :>

And I think I didn't say this in the last post, but if you are active on mainstream social media, always create a cross post of your hive post! Specially if your article has been well researched, or the art is eye-catching, or it has the potential to gather eyeballs and attract people's interest in joining HIVE :)

We gotta do our bits to help keep the HYPE alive so our new home's success gain strength from day to day, friends~ !!!

Until next time, see you o/

Websites used to make the art in this post


Copyright (c) 2020 veryspider.
No reusing elsewheres unless you got my okay to do so in writing!



I definitely appreciate my work (photographs) being cited.
Though it depends on the category [and mostly true for nature/travel photography] but I think much of a photographer's work is finding a great subject. And I guess that's one of the main differences between photography and painting. It could be the reason that why photography is overlooked, all the effort is not in the photo, but I think for painting, most of the effort is seen in the painting. Though as I'm not a painter, I don't know how true is that.

hi! thank you for chiming in <3

i am not a photographer, and i definitely value what your experiences feel like. i do have to admit that i have not thought about things from other perspectives, and it was such a wake up call when i browse my own photo collection and discover that most of my photography isn't particularly up to scratch... so it dawned on me that photographers must have gone through a lot of years to cultivate their eyes for the art of photography.

i DO have photographer friends, (though not as many as illustrator friends) and i DO get the feeling that they are treated differently. Even though ALL OF US should be supporting each other, because each of us bring something of value to the table...

One of my photographer friends say that words of mouth is THEIR number one mean of getting around. Of getting noticed. But I was thinking if painters and illustrators never bother to drop the names of their favourite photographers, it seems like they are not helping a person whose work have actually been a boon to them?

... anyway, i think you are right. with photography, there are a lot of things that are not immediately visible in the artwork. You have to wait for hours for the right lighting, you have to search and find the right subject, and you have to find the right place to frame the shot, etc. These things are invisible and often overlooked.

Thank you again for the comment! This topic is giving me a lot of things to reflect and think about <3

That really bothers me, I have taken many photos my friends and other people for free (in the gatherings, during travels), and some of them don't even bother to mention the photographer's name.

I think photography is more equipment-oriented than painting and illustrating, which makes people think of photography less than an art, maybe that's true, maybe photographers are not (don't need to be) as creative as illustrators, but still they put much effort into they work and they deserve the recognition. I mean, even someone doesn't consider photography a type of art, doesn't mean it's ok to use that photograph without mentioning the photographer's name.

yea, people just often conveniently forget to mention a photographer's name... which is poor form, i think! how can a photographer build their brand online and in real life, if their names are hidden?

i think it's important to realize that we can support each other by citing the names of people that help inspire us!

Hi Spidey! You made an interesting point with this post but it's a very long discussion to take. I don't know any professional artist that doesn't use any kind of reference. Maybe they're selfish, but no one ever has shared or even mentioned what they use, maybe it should change, I don't know.
For example, I've seen the creator of Jojo's bizarre adventure making an illustration on youtube, he kept going back and forward with books of sculptures and fashion magazines as inspiration for designs and poses for the characters, he made an entire story and character development but copied poses for that illustration, is he stealing?

I remember seeing artists who posted daily copying almost everything of a painting I made to keep coming up with art, and of course, he/she didn't mention me, I considered it as inspiration, not necessarily a steal.

It's different when you copy 1:1 other's work. It shouldn't be considered art, just a study, or practice, and mentioning the original artist should be mandatory. Analyzing it further, if it should be monetized, sold or however they think to use it, that's beyond me.

hi siucatti!

i think if they rely on primarily ONE photograph, some credits belong to the photographer?

if they use LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of different bases, it's more like the painter / illustrator did not rely only on a SINGLE primary source?

copying is a method to study is valid, i think, but again, i think if there is ONE SPECIFIC photograph that is mostly used, we should kind of... not take the photographer's artistry for granted? just cite the name and give something back to the photographer, cuz everyone's trying to get noticed and just by citing the name or linking the photographer's work, we are honouring their artistry, too?

photography seems to be just treated differently to painting / illustration and the thought was kind of uncomfortable to me... that's all~

I agree, that's why I made the distinción if it's a 1:1 copy or not.

I think pretty much all forms of art are considered disposable, it's not exclusive to photography, just look at all the fuzz going on with YouTube and copyright claims.

For me, the best way to credit photographers would be to make collaborations, and Hive could be a great place to do that.


Who Da Artist!

You Da Artist!

Who Da Artist!

We Da Artist!

XD manol, you're such adorbs <3

Love your photography AND your arts, both, btw <333333333

Good :)

I am happy to see your works again, too.

I am actively fighting a watercolorist's block right now. Since yesterday, actually. Working on the board game project of ours. Although, @silver.art is doing the heavy lifting in the Illustrations Department, leading me 13-14 to 3-4 for now.


nice to hear you are doing good :)

and @silver.art and you are such a great team! i hope you can beat the watercolorist's block soon :D

👋 Hi @veryspider, I was flipping through the blockchain and stumbled on your work! You've been upvoted by Sketchbook / a community for design and creativity. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon.

Join the Sketchbook Community

I remember there being some kerfuffle a hundred million years ago about photographers using the art tag, the non-photographers felt like they were being buried under the photos (there were a lot).

Then there's the debacle about whether snapshots (like selfies or the kind you'd take of your family and friends and pets messing around the the lulz or the memories) should be considered photography never mind art.

Now there's another can of worms to go with your can of worms post x_x lol


On the referencing, I think if you're using one image for whatever reason (base for overpainting, drawing from reference, etc) then crediting is at least polite if nothing else. It gets slightly more insane when you're photobashing (that's grabbing various elements from numerous photos/references and smashing them together into one image and probably also overpainting it or at the very least editing it heavily for those who aren't sure) or have one of those mood/vision board things, and also starts to get to the point where it's fair use to merely influence.

Photography is often overlooked or belittled as FREE SHIT.

Seriously, who thinks that. +3 exasperation.

I was told that revealing the base photo can be like asking a magician to share their secret magic tricks.

That reads like a bit of an ego trip to me x_x but I have a strong preference to helping people where I can which is why I have process posts and progblogs (well that and if I didn't have the progblogs I'd be posting maybe monthly if I can stay on top of hs misc instead of weekly XD) so I guess I only kind of vaguely academically understand that mentality.

And meanwhile I think you made good use of the reference the nice photo provided to make a great drawing. The pointy legs/possibly non-existent feet of the character with all those robey clothes have very Journey vibes XD

hahah yeah, there are A LOT of facets in a community, specially a multi-discipline one like "ART" cuz it's such a HUGE umbrelly

I mean, the art of writing is often very much treated separately than the visual art mediums, same with performing arts, and music, and cinemas. But let's not open too many rabbit holes XD

I do think CASUAL photography can be overwhelmingly accessible these days, since every one has access to a phone (and therefore a camera) but then again CASUAL art is.... NOT that inaccessible either. Lots of people can just pick up a pencil and draw. But maybe more have the reluctance not to just post their silly doodles online? Mmm. Silly doodles are really almost as easy to make as selfies, I think, in terms of difficulty?

To be fair, the tag #art does not really belong to only illustrators and painters, but people just CRAVE to be more visible so I understand why there were a kerfuffle about pushing photography out as the amount of contents can drown out what the illustrators / painters bring, but what's wrong with using #drawing or #illustration to be visible at, instead? :O

(I love your drawing of that can of worms, btw, it has such the same energy as RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!! XD)

Photobashing is a legit technique in which the artist brings more of themselves into the work. It's like the artist are preparing MANY ingredients to make a cake. It's *different * to just using **one **photograph to work off, I think...?

Like, even taking a portrait photography that looks good is pretty hard, so if a portrait artist wants to use a photographer's pretty photograph to work on, it's just good form to give some credits back to the photographer... in my opinion!

Cuz like, photographers need some social media visibility too, and an artist who rely on a single primary photograph can support each other by giving shout out back to the photographer's name. This way, the photographer's work and brand is being boosted through the artist's work, as well. Lots of my photographer friends struggle with getting orders or to get noticed online!

And hahah, APPARENTLY, lots of illustrators and painters who does portrait work thinks that a study doesnt need to be cited, fyn. Which is fine, I think, if the photos are their own, or if the photos are free to use. But to come across a portrait photography that looks "nice" and then to use it as a base for your works without giving back gave me pause.

I am like you, in the way that I do not mind showing others my whole process, from the beginning to the end. That's why I often share my process shots or these days, even the entire video of the drawing (since my bestie bought me a video editing app :D) but I think, maybe you and i are not the majority XD Most artists are protective of the glamour (for lack of better words) of their artistry. Which is totally understandable. This is a very human and very relatable feeling, but we should also empathize with the artistry and the value of 'tools' that helped us along the way. Pretty photography is not achieved easily and to treat it without giving back some acknowledgement is a little selfish by my standard...

Like, you wanna make a pretty art, but you dont wanna acknowledge the pretty photograph that helped you make that pretty art? Like why not????

(also your prog blogs are great and im happy that they help you produce some consistent weekly updates ! you are a pathological perfectionist XD)

And finally, thank you ! I like to insert a bit of myself into my arts ... it's the story teller in me, I guess :D

People do use drawing and illustration and painting tags and sometimes in the case of digital art program tags as well, think the general argument there was that most people will look at "art" which is true, and because it's such a big brolly there definitely shouldn't be any genres exluded.

Writing is most definitely an art but at least the writing and fiction tags are usually broad enough that they won't be lacking for audience XD

or at least an audience capable of reading anything longer that a twit

Maybe it should have been a can of wyrms? ;D

Pretty photography is not achieved easily and to treat it without giving back some acknowledgement is a little selfish by my standard...

Like, you wanna make a pretty art, but you dont wanna acknowledge the pretty photograph that helped you make that pretty art? Like why not????

You would think, but some people don't -_-

you are a pathological perfectionist XD

PFFFFFFFT I'm adopting that because it's true x_x lol XD

I like to insert a bit of myself into my arts

I like it better when you (collective "you" as in everyone not just you personally) do, because it makes it better. I'll always prefer the "worse" drawing with something going on than the technically brilliant drawing that's just technically brilliant :)

Veryspider, you are so right about the photography. The photographers are also an artists. I like your drawing pretty much, because it is expressive and full of energy!You have a story with these two characters the girl and her horse! I admire you for this post! Keep doing the things with heart and joy!

hello, @silver.art <3 !

thank you for your valuable and kind comment! I am glad to hear that you are in agreement :>

thank you for this!
!discovery 50

it was going around and around in my head!

i had to write it down to get it out of me XD

Questo post è stato condiviso e votato all'interno del discord del team curatori di discovery-it Entra nella nostra community! hive-193212
This post was shared and voted inside the discord by the curators team of discovery-it. Join our community! hive-193212

So, I think it's important to change the thinking that only painters or illustrators are artists. Photography is often overlooked or belittled as FREE SHIT.

Thanks for saying this! That is so true. It looks simple to take a photo but it's really not as simple as it seems! 🤗

Nice work on that drawing!

thank you !

Hey Spider!!! How have ya been? Getting to be winter there soon.. bundle up!

I find I feel better citing my sources even if my finished piece looks nothing like the photo. If I get inspiration from it, I like to cite it. It's fun and like you stated, I feel like I am giving something back. Plus it's hard enough for me (a non-writer) to come up with material, to create a story about my work. More interesting for the reader I think.

Anyhow, I can probably take a good guess which chat room you were having this debate in.. lol. Have a GREAT DAY!! Sorry it's been so long 😊

yep yep, it's been raining here every day so i've been even more "locked down" than ever XD couldn't even take the doggos to walkies since it's been wet and miserable . __ .

how have you been doing??? <3 send my pets to your fluffy ones, pls <333333

yesh, i see that you understand my point \o/ i like to give back and to support others, specially if they have helped me somehow :D And yep, that's the point! FOR THE READERS, it gives more information and made things more interesting, not less interesting!

if i say, hey, this is the works of Luke Skywalker that I used to make this artwork, people then might check out the works of Luke Skywalker, and they might find his stuff interesting and it's like providing people rabbit holes to venture into... the world should be BIG and EXPLORABLE and fun!

And hahahah, I'm in way too many discords it seems, but you probably guessed right :> Hope you have a great day too, and it's always nice to hear from you <3

Rain = 😕
Nothing too crazy new to report here. Work is in full swing,so very little time for art and creation. I have a few ideas floating around, but have to find some free hours. Dogs are doing okay. Molly is content lying around, eating, getting virtual pets from Spider, and remaining scared of every noise. Pepper on the other hand can't hear very well anymore. For the most part he is deaf. Doesn't hear us come home, he gets spooked more easily, and can't see well out of one eye. Right now he is going through a rough patch. The vet thinks he either has a brain tumor or Bells Palsy. His face is numb on the one side, ear doesn't perk up, and eye won't blink and has no reactive reflex. Poor guy. It's sad, but he still seems to be happy. We are currently trying a few things to help figure it out.

Other than that, my wife is working from home and tackling the challenges that come along with that. I and my employees are still allowed to work, so we are. Trying to move the company into uncharted waters, dealing with customer concerns, employee concerns, and still running the everyday business routine has been a bit challenging, but we are surviving. The overall moral of my employees is good despite economic uncertainty throughout their personal lives and the world. Hiring new employees, the interview process, and navigating government checks and certifications have caused me to loose some hair, but wasn't much there anyhow..lol.

Thanks for checking in and leaving the nice response. It made my Tuesday! 😁

yep, rain is not fun when it goes on for a few days in a stretch > __ < but hopefully the weather will improve here soon :>

awww poor pepper, i hope you can find a few ways to help him out <3 you're such full with love and care for your doggos, it gives me such happiness to hear! send my love to molly and pepper, as always <333333

work is busy as always for me as well. i've been told to work from home since ...4 weeks ago, ish. it is definitely a strange new world now! i am glad you are still keeping your heads on level swing though and that the morale of your employees remain good :D At times like these, we really have to focus on each other!

lol about your hair XD you silly man~

it's nice to hear that your work remains busy but i'd love to see an art from you in the near future as well! hope you can find the time for some creativity soon <3

Oh definitely being cited feels good. you never know what other person is good at doing is an art itself.

@veryspider, sorry to see you have less Hive Power.
Your level lowered and you are now a Red Fish!

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