All In A Name………..



Which applies to which artist or art work? I find it very hard to distinguish between the two, as well as the other terms of  Super-realism, New Realism and Sharp Focus Realism, which are also often applied to this genre of painting.

Photo-Realism is defined as;

“the genre of painting based on using the camera and photographs to gather information and then from this information, creating a painting that appears to be very realistic like a photograph. The term is primarily applied to paintings from the U.S.A. that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.”

The Artists referred to as ‘Photo- realists’ worked independently of each other. Their subject matter was routinely the rather mundane and familiar in the traditional art genres, landscapes, portraits, and still life. The landscapes were urban, rather than naturalistic, and the still life, the everyday objects encountered in daily urban living.

Idelle Weber

Ralph Goings

Both of these artists are referred to as Photo-realists.

Hyper-realism is defined as:

” a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high resolution photograph. Hyper-realism is a fully-fledged school of art and can be considered as an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting photo-realistic paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has recently developed since the early 2000″

For me the defining difference between the two is the fact that the Hyper-realists tend to use photographic images as a reference source, one from which to create a more definitive and detailed rendering of the subject, unlike the Photo-realists who tend to imitate the photographic image. The resultant image is often devoid of human emotion, political value and narrative and tends to be rather literal in its approach.

In Hyper-realism, the textures, surfaces, lighting effects and shadows are painted to appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself. So, although photographic in essence, the image has a softer much more complex focus and it appears as a tangible, living object creating a narrative with the viewer.

 That said, it appears that Hyper-realism evolved from Photo-realism and elements of each are to be found in the other.

Denis Peterson

Damian Loeb

Both these artist are termed Hyper-realists.

Hyper-realism or Photo-realism?

John Bader

Martin Gale

I hope this little bit of research helps to clarify the essential differences between the two, although I think the terms are used far more loosely these days, and hopefully one will not be chastised to harshly for wrongly categorising works!

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