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  1. #1
    DJGainer's Avatar
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    Purpose and Message of Still Life?

    I was bored tonight, so I ventured into forums I never read before. Here I find that the Still Life sub of the Photo Aesthetics and Composition Forum didn't even have a post!

    I shoot still life mainly because it gives me unlimited compositional control. I shoot many seashells and household items, and enjoy the ability to arrange the items in a fashion that makes the message truly unique.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on why they shoot still life?

    -Dave

  2. #2

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    Dave

    I shoot a lot of still life although I think the reasons are as much to do with practicalities as a love of the subject.

    The challenge of creating a work of art out of a mundane subject is very appealing.

    I also think convenience and being in control is a major attraction for me. I get jittery when trying to photograph outdoors when people are around and I have never learnt to drive a car so landscape photography is not so easy.

    Reading John Blakemore 'Black and White darkroom workshop' has inspired me to work on still life projects rather than individual images.

    Les

  3. #3
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    On a simple platform, I like stuff and I like looking at stuff and showcasing it. I'm also interested in meaning and symbolism, though most of my still lifes kind of lack that at the moment.
    ~Heather
    oooh shiny!
    http://www.stargazy.org/

  4. #4

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    Forgetting about the practical aspect of still life work, product photography, there is a lot to be said about creating an image completely from scratch, completely on your own and having nearly unlimited control over the image.

  5. #5
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    If an artistic purpose (commercial excluded): study, research on composition, textures, light, symbols, feelings, a.s.o. All these put you in a particular subject to object position (like lesd and Akki14 mentioned it above): you have to be in love with what you are shooting or better said, with what you are looking for in what you are shooting.
    B&W is silver.

  6. #6
    nze
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    I shoot still life mostly flowers or fruit just to comtemplate them.
    Chris Nze
    me Apug Portfolio
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  7. #7
    phenix's Avatar
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    It also involves a double level of artistic creation: not only the photography, but first the object/composition you are shooting.

    (Note: I don't like the term "controlling", I rather prefer the term "create".)

  8. #8

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    I think that many artists use still life as learning exercise for composition and practice in the use of colour and lighting. These all apply equally well to photography and if you master the techniques involved, then you can make some beautiful images too.

  9. #9
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    I love to shoot still life images. I have this urge to collect small objects and arrange them in different ways. It's so much fun. My still lifes are shot mainly with a macro lens. I have these images in my head and I just want to try to reproduce them.
    What started me shooting in that direction was the opening sequence of the American film, "To Kill A Mockingbird". The focus was on a child's box of small objects and they were shot in close up and I was struck by the preciousness of the items. I also like to combine natural items with man made ones.

  10. #10

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    When I went to RMIT to do photography (Australia's answer to the Brooks Institute in the US) we had to do still lifes. For most of the students this was their first time using a 4x5 camera and it was a steep learning curve. I think I was the only one who had their own 4x5. We were given a list of things we had to photograph over the course of the year, so we really had no choice of what we shot. I still really enjoyed the challenge of taking something as mundane as biycle parts or spaghetti or a bowl of eggs and making it look great by using the right lighting, background and props. We were using Fijichrome 64T and shooting polaroids to see if we had the lighting right. I haven't done any still lifes since then (1989) but I've been wanting to do some B&W's of flowers for a while now. This thread has firmed the resolve and as soon as my tax return comes in I'll buy a few boxes of film and get started.
    I might even learn how to scan the results and post them here.
    Cheers
    Mike

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