It may seem hard to believe, but the above images are not photographs - they are paintings.
Part of a movement known as Hyperrealism, they are as close to real life as you can get. But I'm not sure that I really understand it.
A lot of artists today will take photographs and use those as a reference for their artwork, even if the subject is right in front of them; such as with portraiture. This is fair enough, but if the artwork is of a standard that it is then difficult to tell apart from the photograph it makes you wonder why they do it.
There is sometimes the debate about whether photography has made certain styles of art obsolete. In the main I don't think so, because within paintings and illustrations the artist can stylise various aspects of the look and imagery to perhaps make their own commentary of their subject. But painting in Hyperrealism doesn't seem to allow for this creative stylisation, and so if not only for the purpose of being extremely impressive I just wonder why they put themselves through it.
Hyperrealism is not exclusively linked to painting, and names such as Ron Mueck have become well known for hyperreal scultures. However, in these works there does exist a creative stamp that distances them from their painting counterparts.
I have nothing against hyperrealist painting, it's an impressive form of artwork that seems to be more akin to creating a jigsaw puzzle. But I struggle to shake the idea of an artist working from a photograph, to inject no personal expression and then after many hours end up with a piece that is indistinguishable from it. Based upon the images on my computer screen; that is. More than anything I think that this is a style that needs to be experienced and scrutinised in the flesh, so I hope to see some of these masterful works up close some day.