Laura Gascoigne: Photography, Wrong Sort Of – January 2017

“And the Praemium Imperiale

Award for Painting goes to… a photographer!” Yep, Cindy Sherman has won the Imperial Japanese

wearied of circa 1980. If not for greasepaint, it would have
to be for psychological insight – and despite her readiness


to raid the dressing-up box and make her ageing self look ridiculous in the name of


art, Rembrandt she ain’t.

Sherman is the least qualified non-painter to win the award so far, but she’s not the first. Bill


Viola won

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it in 2011 and Japan’s own Hiroshi Sugimoto in 2009 – both non-painters who piggyback on the history
of painting. But no hard feelings; it’s all water under the interdisciplinary bridge. As Frances Morris established at the opening of Tate Modern’s Switch House: “We don’t any longer have a hierarchy where painting is at the top.”

As if to settle the point beyond dispute,

last year the Tate awarded its

annual IK Prize for creative talent in the digital industry to a team from Treviso for an experimental project using artificial intelligence to compare news photographs with works in the collection. Titled Re][cognition – potty punctuation is de rigeur in the digi-world – it google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; set out to google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; answer src="//"> the question: “Can a machine make us look afresh at great art through the lens of today’s world?”

The way it worked was this. Every day, a crop of current news photos shot by Reuters’ photographers were shown to the machine, which then scanned the collection at the rate of

thousands of images a minute and
spat out matches based on object, facial, google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; compositional and context recognition.

Now this is an area I’ve long been interested in, so I went along to Tate Britain

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to have a look. For years I’ve been collecting news photographs //--> that echo the compositions of old master paintings. Some subjects are

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naturally fertile territory – almost every refugee mother and baby is a Madonna and Child, every grieving mother a Mater Dolorosa – but the parallels go further. I was particularly pleased to find a
photo of Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead at a press


conference following the self-started house fire that killed their six children in 2014 doing a perfect impersonation of
Adam and Eve in Masaccio’s Expulsion from Eden.

Are these coincidences? I don’t think the

can be programmed to
fudge a fair approximation of a Rembrandt portrait, left to itself it can’t is a world leading domain escrow service platform and ICANN-Accredited Registrar, with 6 years rich experience in domain name brokerage and over 300 million RMB transaction volume every year. We promise our clients with professional, safe and easy third-party service. The whole transaction process may take 5 workdays.

tell one thing from another.

exemplified by Wolfgang Tillmans, the first photographer to be awarded the Turner Prize, who (having recently finished a stint as a Tate Trustee) has a solo show opening at Tate Modern in February. Tillmans takes egalitarianism to its logical conclusion, refusing to
distinguish between src="//"> motifs: google_ad_width = 970; if the geeks from Treviso programmed a computer to take photographs, they would look
like his.

While Tillmans is google_ad_height = 90; larging it at Tate Modern, the work of Roger Mayne will be showing at Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield in the exhibition Street View: Photographs of Urban Life (until March 11th). Mayne, a chemistry graduate of Balliol College Oxford, was egalitarian enough to want to devote five years of his life to photographing slum children on the streets of West London. The slums have


long gone, but the photographs look as fresh as the

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day they were taken – which may be why one was chosen as the poster image for Tate Britain’s photographic survey How We Are. In Mayne’s case the past tense would have been more accurate. In 1956 he was given a one-man-show at the ICA. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; Today he might take photographs for Reuters, but he would never be given