Paint What You Shoot if What You Shoot is What You See

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If you don’t like my title so be it. At least Neil Simon would appreciate it. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know there was a photography angle to the work of Norman Rockwell. I suppose my obsession with him was only tint deep.

His paintings portray an America that’s absurdly idyllic, homespun, heroic, sappy, god-fearing, graceful, corny, affectionate, and too true to be good. You won’t find a trace of irony in his oils, and that’s why his work was an inspiration to parodists at MAD magazine, National Lampoon, and the art collective Beuyscouts of Amerika.

Well it turns out Rockwell painted from carefully staged photographs.

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Thus, I’m eagerly awaiting a copy of Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick (Little, Brown & Company). It will be interesting to see if the photographs stand on their own. And what if the Saturday Evening Post had run the photos on their cover?

Then, I guess, it would’ve been LIFE.

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