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An Imaginary Conversation Between Two Masters of Painting



We often get too set in our ways and our conversation remains in the same context, which can blind us to seeing the pitfalls we create for ourselves. In general, using other photographers’ aesthetics, judgements, and sensibilities should make us think twice, thrice, … Yet, in the rush of creating the next “noticeable” image on the Web, we use presets, filters, brushes, and a whole lot of them without thinking twice.

In fact, there are sites designed specifically to allow the photographers to apply a collection of filters to have that “different yet very familiar” look, and people go there in droves to mutilate their photographs in an effort to get their 15 seconds of fame and countless “likes”.

Instead of trying to make the same point in the same context, which will be quickly dismissed, below is an imaginary conversation in a different context: two painters talking about the newfangled tools.

Let’s listen… Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin are chatting…

“Vincent do you feel you are not creative at times, frustrated that others can produce very creative work and you spin your wheel?”

“Well, who doesn’t? But, we keep trying.”

“Wait, there are ways to create highly creative work with little effort, you won’t believe how easy these new add-ons and brush tools are and how creative the results look.”

“Oh, well, go on …”

“Take a look at the creative still life I painted. I started with what you see above, very dull and not creative enough, don’t you think? I even considered adding more texture, like wood, or dried leaves. I think I painted that orange too close to the top edge, but …”

“Get to the point Paul!”

“Then, I remembered reading an ad on the bar wall that promised ‘Amazingly creative results in two easy steps'”

“And you believed that?”

“Sure, look, I got a creative brush tool made by a Frank Talius. It creates amazingly creative wispy things on your painting; you could have used it in your Starry Night, much faster and more creative. It would have taken you days to produce the same effect.”


“Are you serious?”

“But wait, there’s more! I also found out about an add-on canvas that gives you a Monet-like reflection on water of your own painting with ripples no less; no extra work needed and very creative I must add. Look at the result after two easy steps, amazing or what?”

“Are you serious Paul? What do you call this?”

“‘Amazingly creative results in two easy steps.’ What do you think?”

“And, people think I’m crazy?”

About the author: A. Cemal Ekin is a photographer based in Warwick, Rhode Island who has been shooting for roughly 60 years. He retired as a professor of marketing emeritus from Providence College in 2012 after 36 years of service there. Visit his website here.