The relationship between, and influence of, photography on artistic painting has always been intimate, and profound.
I can remember when landscape and figurative painting was everywhere. That would be about fifty years ago and more. But now? Do any “important” artists do this any more? Not many, is my distinct impression. If there is any “realism” involved, it is usually realism with a twist, and often some kind of violation or distortion. That guy, who was perfectly capable of terrific realistic painting, was one of the leaders of art out of mere realism. “Psychological”, instead of literal, truth.
A big part of why this trend out of realism happened is to be found in pictures like this one, of a fire, done recently by 6k. 6k didn’t even have his “camera” with him, when he photoed this. But, says he, “my phone did ok”. More than ok, I’d say:
I recall speculating along these lines recently, at a party. Painters don’t do the “beauty” of the “real world” any more (I said), in fact (I said) they don’t really do “beauty” at all any more, because now everyone can do great pictures, just by going click with their phones, and everyone now has a phone.
My companion illustrated my point for me by immediately taking out his “phone” and showing me some amazing landscape photos on it that he had taken that very day. They were stunning. His point, and mine, is that this required no very great skill on his part, just a half decent and half alert eye for something worth photoing.
So it is that “art” has not so much “advanced” into its various alternative realities of abstraction and conceptualisation, but rather has retreated into these things. Chased out of doing beautiful recreations of reality by technology.