The Poignant Story Of Courtroom Sketch Artist Gary Myrick

courtroom 2 Courtroomcourtroom 5

The prevalence of any technology forever alters the way we previously understood the world before it. Photography changed painting, audio recording changed our relationship to music, and the internet changed print media such as books and magazines. What is most often lost is the human touch, a closer connection from the source to the viewer or listener. Such is the story of courtroom sketch artist Gary Myrick, the focus of a documentary produced by Ramtid Nikzad of the New York Times as part of the Op-Doc series. A compelling figure who narrates the history of the tradition, Myrick  Myrick explains the difference and importance of his craft, “Illustration is story-telling. The difference between the camera in the courtroom and an artist might be the difference between just a cold, dry, factual transcript as opposed to a novel.” 

Beginning with Myrick explaining his work, the documentary covers the history of the medium, the advent and fall of courtroom photography, and the eventual decline of the courtroom sketch artist. “The artist at one time was the media,” says Myrick, relaying the history of artist documentarians, from war reporting through history to multi-tasking newspaper reporters who considered their drawings as important as their words. “When you funnel the story through a human being, its got a different quality than simply doing a mechanical recording of it,” says Myrick. “A lot of things going on about me are channeled through my heart, and my soul and my brain and my fingers…I like to convey just how it feels in that moment.”

Despite his immense talent, Myrick and so many other sketch artists are no longer able to work exclusively in the dying industry. Myrick poignantly notes, speaking more indicatively of so many industries that are being lost to the ease of technology, “I’m trying to draw to communicate to those that aren’t there, what it was like to be there. And maybe some of that has been getting lost.” (via juxtapoz and newyorktimes)

courtroom 3The work of Myrick’s inspiration, artist Howard Brody.courtroom 4Howard Brody documenting the infamous Watergate Trial

 

 

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