Is it a painting or is it a photo? I think the answer is both!

photo made to look like an impasto painting
(Image credit: Tarryn Goldman (@tarryngoldmanphotography))

There truly are no limits to how creative you can be with photography. While it can be as simple as pressing the shutter to take your standard portrait, Tarryn Goldman, a photographer based in South Africa, is blurring the lines between photography and painting with a new series of creative fine art portraits that look exactly like Impasto artworks. 

While asking “What is fine art photography” she came up with a process that involves not only painting a background but painting a model to fit the scene and aesthetic. Fine art photography is about more than just the lens sees, it’s about a concept or an idea that the photographer is trying to relay. It could be based on an emotion, a memory, or a topical event and can vary from landscape, portrait, or even still life. 

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At first glance, you wouldn’t be a fool for believing that her photos are paintings, and in some ways they are. The process of creating the background and painting the model took two days to complete. Something I love about some of the images is that she’s left the paints and brush in the picture. In the caption on Instagram, she admits she might’ve interpreted the term fine art photography a bit too literally but what she has created is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. 

Showing such imaginative use of art and photography in a world that is currently so centered around AI proves that no matter how far it advances, there will always be a place for organic creativity. You just need to think outside the box and find a way to create something magical which Tarryn has done spectacularly. 

Judging by her Instagram feed, Tarryn is a photographer who is continually looking for new ways to define photography. By combining surreal imagery with fashion photography she challenges the standard conventions and in doing so has carved a unique niche for herself. 

Photographers like Tarryn inspire me to think about my own creative pursuits and how I can be more imaginative and use different mediums in my photography. If you’re ever feeling uninspired or can't shift that feeling of a creative block, Instagram is an amazing place to re-engage your creative flair, and perhaps get the shove to try something new.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.