Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Carl Shull


This thesis is an attempt to substantiate the legitimacy of the photograph as a source and aid to painters.

Chapter 1. reviews various artists and major art movements of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries influenced by the photograph. Since the invention of photography in 1839, artists such as Manet, Delacroix, Corot, Degas, Picasso, and Dali have used photographs as a source of inspiration and help in achieving the qualities they desired in their paintings. Most major art movements since the middle 1800's were influenced in some way by the various developments of the camera and photography.

Photo-Realism, a style of painting that uses the photograph as a direct source of subject matter, is discussed in Chapter 2. The Photo-Realist artists are concerned with recording the facts of the objects' outward appearance. These artists go so far as to capture the out-of-focus images of a photograph caused by the single eye of the camera. The photograph continues to be an integral part of the Photo-Realist movement.

The third section of this paper deals with a series of paintings by Nancy G. Odom. These paintings were painted in the Photo-Realist style. The subject matter was taken from photomicrographs that were originally photographed on a Scanning Electron Microscope. The function of this microscope is described briefly, along with the specific subject of the photomicrographs. The artists technique of painting with the airbrush and acrylic paint is also discussed. Photographs of these paintings follow this chapter of the paper.