Why Draw Pictures that Already Exist?

Photo-based Drawings and the Presence Phenomenon

  • Claire Rebecca Anscomb University of Liverpool, UK


It is widely held that, due to its causal nature, photography is the visual medium best suited for enabling individuals to form a sense of perceptual contact with distant or deceased subjects, and so to mitigate against the loss of the subject. Yet, a number of artists, who have meticulously recreated photographs by a slow, laborious process of drawing, have reported that this manual activity has afforded a richer sense of connectedness with the distant or lost subjects. In this article, I produce a phenomenological analysis of this experience, which I term the “presence phenomenon”. To explain this phenomenon, I employ recent work from philosophy of perception and philosophy of mind to argue that the act of drawing, unlike looking at a photograph, presents affordances for bodily action that, in combination with the realism of the work, trigger sub-doxastic associative mechanisms that produce an enhanced sense of connection to the subject.

How to Cite
ANSCOMB, Claire Rebecca. Why Draw Pictures that Already Exist?. TRACEY, [S.l.], v. 16, n. 1, p. 1-13, apr. 2022. ISSN 1742-3570. Available at: <https://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/TRACEY/article/view/2899>. Date accessed: 28 jan. 2023.