Photography, painting and neuroscience

In my quest to find cerebral cortex targets for enhanced learning, thinking and doing, a recent trip triggered an epiphany. Using full-time HDR (high dynamic range) recording, people began to comment that my photos looked like paintings. This triggered some research into famous painters and thinking about what they did that made their work “paintings.” Combined with my previous study of neurobiology, it immediately became clear that painters have instinctively targeted specific modules within the visual cortex. Unwittingly at first, my photographs were doing the same thing. From then on, I shot specifically with these effects in mind.

In short, painters create images that are easily accessible to the human visual cortex. Photographs, which are technical recordings with all the limitations of photosensors and displays, do not inherently do so. Many photographs are failures precisely because of slavish adherence to “technical correctness.” However, new technology and understanding is opening the door for photographers to create works with the visually compelling interest of paintings. Of course, there is more to the story, an introduction to which I have posted on