I'll typically turn to still life if it's bitter outside and I have some new lenses that I want to see what they will do. Paper negs lend themselves to still life.
The antique toys way on page 4 of my gallery here are some of my very favorites.
Many of the still life photos I make are based on some of the ideas and imagery that I incorporated in my sculpture. So the transition from 3D work to 2D was an easy one for me.
At the current time, my little attic studio has become a repository for family stuff and my basement... well I can't seem to get a handle on cleaning it out. So I have not had the chance to get much still life work done.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
I have never been trained in photography, and the books I read about it all show various shots they describe as "still life" pictures. However, noe of them ever really defines just what is a still life. Generally, the pictures are stereotypical table-top type images of fruit, a vase of flowers, and other small objects. Is that the limiting factor . . . where the line is drawn?
What about other shots? Is the typical picture of the rusty old 1939 Plymouth pick-up out in the woods with a tree growing through it a still life photo? What about an old barn or privy? An interior shot of a mechanic's shop with a car on the lift, a work bench, tools & mechanic's equipment lying about, beam of light coming in from an out of view side window, . . . etc?
I ask this because I have never read a good definition for a still life, yet I find that genre of shots is often a category in our local county fair photo contest. They don't define it either!
What is (and what is not) a still life picture?
I used to hate the idea of doing still lifes..
to boring I thought.
Then I heard of the term "Vanitas", and I was totally hooked.
so when I do still lifes, I always have the vanitas idea in my head. And I like to use these symbols in a indirect/surreal way.
If you don't know what Vanitas is, the ask.. I'll explain..
The term 'Vanitas' made me very curious so of course I googled and found the meaning: 'still life consisting of objects that symbolize death'. Very intriguing as I am fascinated by such images but never knew the word.
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Isn't that "Vanitas" form the one that usually always has a human skull somewhere in the picture? Explain it to me, Gandolfi.
Last edited by B&Jdude; 07-30-2008 at 12:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Left off a piece of the posting
Yeah, I'm quite interested in the Vanitas/Memento Mori type still-lifes too,in addition to my little fruit series which is a useful distraction from coming up with symbolic compositions. I did a sort of vanitas yesterday and now realise that having a large duck egg next to an egg timer just makes it look like breakfast possibly :rolleyes: I was going for fragility of life in the form of the egg, and brevity of life with the egg timer going.
Vanitas is the term used in old Dutch paintings.
Originally Posted by B&Jdude
it is not about death as such - merely the fact that ALL things on earth has its time (except the love of God).
in this kind of imagery, you can put all kinds of symbols in it to make a sort of statement.
if you think about an old painting og flowers, then you'll notice that some of these flowers are dying - that there proberly will be butterflys in the picture - and maybe a snail or two...
it is the eternal fight between Life and Death ot Good and Evil..
quickly there were lots and lots of Vanitas symbols to use (you can make up your own..)
Skull = death (there is a famous painting/drawing of a toddler boy sitting on top of a skull with the text under: "Quis Evadet" (who will excape!)
skull with grain lying on top o fit= Life's victory over death.
Grain= (rye/wheat/oat and so on (harvested)= LIFE (it is most potent when it looks most dead..)
Evy= LIFE (grows on dead items(trees) or dead things as walls)
Lizard= evil/death (often with a butterfly caught)
snails and flys: decay/death
candels= life - and how short it is
glas (one often broken), eggs (again one broken),music instruments with strings (one string often broken) = how beautiful but fragile life is..
monkey= evil (the devil, as it looks almost human, but isn't)
lilly = life
thistle = death/flower of evil (looks alive when dead and dried..)
"life is like the sound coming from a violin - and as short"..
flute = musicality
Raven = evil/clever
coins = wealth
chess board = clevernes
flowers and fruits are often going bad..
soap bubbles = fragile but perfect in form
images on a wall; if not framed, one corner will be bent = death is coming soon
the border of a table (maybe the one where you put your still life) = death (if things are hanging down from it)
and so on, and so on
if you try to look for modern Vanitas Symbols, I can give you four here and now:
in fashion photography the theme "the beauty in a place of decay" (like an old factory, long abandoned..
the "Best before" note on fresh food!
the Y2K problem (everybody thought the world would "end" in year 2000...)
and the most powerfull in our time: 09/11
the symbol can be used as the image of the twin towers (two candels?)
or as a time set on a watch..
This is a fun world to explore - never ending.
the "message" you put in an image doesn't have to mean anything specific
no idea if there is really anything to this but I've always seen still life as a way of collecting. Instead of collecting the actual things you take a photo of them. I think there is a difference between that and appreciation of objects.
I don't shot still life and I always hated drawing still life
I like some still life
But no matter how great a photo I believe something I see could make
Have no real interest in taking one
I appreciate things but have no desire to really collect them
Of course, this may be a different David Bailey to the one I am familiar with... http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Im...anitas1651.jpg