I was asked to give a talk at the local Photographic Society on the subject "the difference between a photograph and a painting". This was my attempt at answering!
If we take the subject of landscape, before the making of the image can begin – be it by clicking the shutter or stretching the canvas and wielding the paintbrush – one has to SEE THE POTENTIAL OF THE SUBJECT. I think ones eye becomes trained to do this. I remember when I first started sketching I used a piece of card with a square cut out to focus on an area of landscape the total scene before me was just to overwhelming. The viewfinder on a camera also does this of course.
While the image is being captured on a camera or sketchbook, all the aspects of mood, weather etc have gone into ones brain with the image. This is so different to using an image from a postcard or one taken off the computer screen which you haven’t EXPERIENCED.
A painting then allows the artist to retain all the essential features of the subject and leave out the rest, in order to create a UNIQUE VISION!