Photography vs. Sculpture

After looking into the work of Vik Muniz and Jessica Mallock I have been looking at how photography and sculpture are similar and how they are different.

Sculpture has been around since thousands of years BC, and has developed over time as can be seen in my post exploring the history of sculpture. Although it was not captured from the beginning of sculpture itself, human emotion and introspection have been captured in sculpture form for thousands of years in a variety of ways.

The Neolithic era saw the beginning of detailed human anatomy as well as basic emotion, which was the starting point of introspection and emotions being sculpturally represented.

The Greek era was a huge turning point for sculpture as the Greeks managed to develop their abilities to create an impressively detailed form of bas relief in which human emotion, facial expressions and body language was able to be physically represented within the sculptures.

I find these two eras within sculpture particularly interesting as they both explore the depiction of humans and their emotions, something that I intent to bring to my work.

Photography, in contrast, was invented within the last 200 years. Although photography has produced some immensely detailed and engaging pieces of work, it has had far less time to develop in comparison to sculpture.

Photography has captured many forms of human emotion as the camera is able to capture whatever is placed in front of it, if the lighting and settings are appropriate, in a much quicker time than it would take to sculpt the same subject.

However, due to the increase in electronic media over the past 20 years there is a great deal of digital imagery and videos that, because of their abundance, seem to be unable to hold the audiences attention, even when the subject is of importance. I feel that this is partially due to the fact that the media is digital; it is unable to be touched, to be viewed any differently than from the perspective it was taken from.

In comparison to photography sculpture seems to be more engaging in terms of depicting human emotion. I feel that this is because a sculpture is a 3D piece of work in which textures are able to felt and the piece is able to be viewed from more than one fixed angle. For example, a sculpture of a person visibly displaying an emotion with their face is a piece that a viewer would be able to approach, to see from afar and from up close. The viewer is able to touch the sculpture, and to feel the texture of the medium it is created from, allowing them to question why this medium has been chosen and how it feels to touch links to what it is visibly displaying. The viewer is also able to feel the sculpting of the persons face, feeling their portrayed emotions beneath their fingertips, something that is not possible within photography.

For this project I feel that a form of 3D sculpture would be the most appropriate for displaying human emotion as it is able to portray minute detail, along with a more engaging outcome for the audience who are able to physically interact with the piece. I will be engaging with my 3D tutor to discuss which mediums within the 3D umbrella term would be best for me.


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