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I have always had tromendous problems with accepting the photographic image as a resource for representational painting,, although I know its been utilised by many artists past and present, some very successful artists today virtually copy found photographic images or produce their own. I come from a fine art illustration background, I employed traditional techniques to produce work that was guided by tight deadlines, thus the neccessity for photographic reference. I am now following my own vision, and although i can  muster figuritive elements from my mind without reference, they dont fullfil m y sensibilities and the overall concept im trying to achieve. Im left with either painting from life or using photographic reference. We all know that painting from life has intrinsic problems associated with it, let alone the practicalities. I feel that using photographs as a source is somehow wrong or cheating in some way. I would value  any feedback and advice. Thankyou in advance, John.

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"Validity" in art can be a value judgement, but to me it has most relevance in terms of the claims you or others make or imply when your artwork is presented to others. If you say, for example, " I drew this from life" you would be lying if you had simply copied a photograph bit by bit. Some art speaks for itself. A detailed drawing of someone deceased or flying through the air is more likely to be based on a photograph, for instance, but there are lots of grey areas, of course.

Using photographs as a source is somehow wrong or cheating in some way? This is your personal feeling in relation to your art practice. You either reflect on it and investigate why you feel this way or you get on with it and do your own thing, whatever that might be.

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