Monday, April 18, 2005

Portrait Painting

My father, a portrait painter, would get pooh-poohed for doing representational art when it was as out of fashion as Gully Jimson's father. "Why would anyone want to just be a poor imitation of a camera?"

He once remarked to me that we've all seen photos that don't look like us, when, of course, they look exactly like us -- the camera can't lie. Making a picture look like the subject is more than just putting the right pixels in the right places.

The Volokh Conspiracy notes this here, in another twist on the "fake-but-accurate" theme.

Fittingly, the "accurate but fake" nature of the "Constitution in Exile" story is best illustrated—literally—by the unrecognizable morgue photos of Richard Epstein and Michael Greve—both would be completely unrecognizable to me had I not read who they were supposed to be—and the "Snidely Whiplash" picture of Chip Mellor.

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