View Full Version : Discuss a... photo? by... whom?

Michel Hardy-Vallée
01-12-2007, 07:16 PM
Here's a fun one for you guys: Gjon Mili took a picture of Picasso in which he painted with light the image of a centaur. So, do you think this is a photo by Gjon Mili, or a drawing by Picasso?

01-12-2007, 07:18 PM
So, can it be both?


01-12-2007, 07:34 PM
either way, I'd say its a great photo of a painting made with light and the guy who painted it.

01-12-2007, 08:56 PM
If I understand your phraseolgy; Mili took the photo and then Picasso light-painted the Centaur. Is this correct?

If so, it is a collaborative effort and a composite photograph.

01-12-2007, 10:24 PM
I looked at the photo and assumed that Picasso painted it in the dark and a flash illuminated him from the upper left at the end of the painting.

Ray Heath
01-13-2007, 12:55 AM
g'day Michel

great question

without the photograher there would be no image and no record of Picasso's work, so if the cetaur was not recorded is it art?

the resulting photograpgh is a piece of visual art, would it have been as good without the Picasso drawing? it would still exist but thr centaur drawing wouldn't

so, i must consider it a photograph by Gjon Mili with some input by Picasso

01-13-2007, 08:39 AM
I'd call it a photographic collaboration. Or something. It seems different from the more common photo - interpretive or not - of an art piece because it is to do with an ephemeral event, a bit like performance art. Whatever it is, it's great, and new to me - thanks for posting.

01-13-2007, 08:57 AM
I've always loved this one. I think it was in Life magazine, no? Photograph by Mili, light drawing by Picasso. Best of both worlds!

Jim Chinn
01-13-2007, 09:12 AM
I would consider it a photograph by Mili because I assume that the idea of Picasso painting with light was his idea. While Picasso did the drawing, it would not have been possible without Mili.

But either way, it's a great idea for a portrait. I don't know the date of the image but probably late 50s early 60s. The idea of using light in such a way in an image was probably new and quite fascinating to the non-photographers who saw the mage.

Bill Mitchell
01-13-2007, 12:28 PM
Just a couple of sad words about Gjon Mili for those who are too young to remember him. Post WW2 he was considered one of the great innovators in the use of light and motion. He had a large commercial studio in NYC which burned down with all his stored negatives, and then he was hit by a taxi and suffered brain damage. I don't believe that he ever recovered enough to work again, and was pretty much disabled physically, mentally, and financially by the time he passed away. This is certainly an extraordinary photograph.

Gay Larson
01-13-2007, 02:13 PM
How sad, Bill. I have seen this portrait before and always loved it. I think it would be horrible to lose all your negatives, not to mention the rest of your possessions. I lost a book of them once when someone broke into my car. They were probably dumped somewhere, but I mourned the loss for a long time.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
01-15-2007, 04:12 PM
Nice to see all your comments, thanks all. What I find fascinating about this photo is the status of the Picasso light drawing.

A lot of thinking about photography always suggest that it is different from drawing because it is not created by the conscious actions of the artist, and thus is more akin to taking an imprint of reality, like one would do with clay pressed upon a bas-relief. (Personnally, I don't agree with that position for a myriad of little reasons.)

I find that this picture dramatizes nicely the opposition between our common conceptions of drawing and photo by showing that one needs not accept the idea that a photo is necessarily a direct record of reality. Picasso's drawing does not exist elsewhere than on the negative his light pens inscribed.

I think if one sticks to the above conception of photography as record of direct experience, then this work is a composite, but I'm more incline not to see it as such, because none of the actions that went into its production differ from that in the ordinary taking of a photograph. I think it rather shows that the definition of a photography must be extended beyond this realistic hypothesis.

10-01-2007, 03:27 AM
This is a great photo. I would consider it a work by both artist.