Legacy Portraits: Paintings vs. Photography

Legacy Portraits Paintings vs. Photography
Photo Courtesy: Kevin G Saunders

In an era where the click of a camera is instantaneous, capturing moments has never been easier. Yet, when it comes to commissioning a large fine art wall portrait, the choice between traditional painting and modern photography presents a unique set of challenges and considerations. This discourse delves into the nuanced differences, advantages, and disadvantages of selecting fine art painters versus photographers for creating timeless portraits that transcend generations.

Photography, with its quick sessions and immediate results, offers a convenience unmatched by any other form of portraiture. The evolution of this medium has seen photographers like Kevin Saunders at KGS Studios in San Antonio revolutionize the portrait landscape. Since 2014, Saunders has pioneered techniques that blend the immediacy of photography with the grandeur and longevity traditionally reserved for paintings. Through his innovative approach, he crafts composite portraits on a grand scale that assures to endure for two centuries.

However, despite these advancements in photographic portraiture, there remains an undeniable allure to the traditional painted portrait. Historically revered as the pinnacle of personal legacy artwork, paintings command a presence that is both majestic and profoundly intimate. The process of sitting for hours, days or even weeks allowed artists to capture not just the likeness but the very essence of their subjects—a feat that requires patience and time commitments many contemporary sitters find daunting.

The reluctance to engage in long sittings has led to a compromise where clients provide camera phone images as references for their portraits. While convenient, this method often fails to convey the depth and texture achievable through direct observation by a skilled artist. Consequently, while paintings hold traditional prestige, their creation faces practical challenges in today’s fast-paced world.

Kevin Saunders’ work at KGS Studios represents an ambitious attempt to bridge this divide. By harnessing state-of-the-art processes and equipment, Saunders creates portraits that embody the aspects of both worlds—the efficiency and realism afforded by photography combined with the artistic quality and durability characteristic of paintings, offered in grand scale up to ten feet tall.

This fusion addresses not only logistical concerns but also cultural shifts in how we perceive artistry and value in portraiture. In an age dominated by digital snapshots and selfies, many have lost sight of what it means to invest in museum-grade portraiture. Saunders’ approach redefines this perception by emphasizing preparation, mental focus, and selection as crucial elements in creating a legacy through portraiture.

Moreover, Saunders challenges prevailing attitudes towards travel for quality artistry; rather than viewing it as an inconvenience, he considers travel as integral to accessing unparalleled talent—a feature rather than a bug in the quest for exceptional portraiture.

Yet obstacles remain—notably in public appreciation and understanding of high-caliber portrait work. With camera phones ubiquitous and online searches favoring quantity over quality due to algorithmic biases—finding truly exceptional portrait artists becomes increasingly challenging. Compounded by widespread misconceptions about portraiture being mere vanity projects rather than narrative-rich legacies adds layers of complexity in elevating public appreciation towards fine art portraits.

Kevin Saunders’ philosophy encapsulates this journey towards recognizing value beyond immediacy: “If you spend a lifetime creating a legacy,” he asserts,” shouldn’t the portrait you choose to represent you reflect the dignity and excellence of that legacy?” It’s a compelling argument for considering not just how we remember our lives but how we immortalize them for future generations.

His sentiment underscores an essential truth about human desire—to be remembered not just as faces but as stories woven into history’s tapestry through artistry that endures well beyond our years.

As we navigate between rapid digital captures and painstakingly crafted artworks; between convenience and timeless elegance—it’s vital we consider what legacies we wish to leave behind. Whether through brushstrokes or pixels; whether traveling across continents or stepping into local studios—the essence lies not merely in choosing between painting or photography but understanding how each contributes uniquely toward narrating our life stories.

Engaging with artists like Kevin Saunders opens avenues not just for immortalizing personal histories but also for appreciating deeper nuances involved in choosing our legacies’ mediums—a testament to creativity’s boundless capacity to capture humanity’s fleeting moments into perpetual majesty.

To explore more about Kevin Saunders’ transformative work or begin your journey toward commissioning your own legacy portrait visit KGS Studios on social media platforms such as Facebook (@kgsstudios), Instagram (@kgsstudios), LinkedIn (@kgsstudios), X (@kgsstudies), or directly through their website at kgsstudios.com

Published by: Martin De Juan


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