Still life is a challenge, but I don’t think it’s really any harder than any other form of artistic photography. In fact in many ways it’s easier: apples and pears don’t breath and don’t get bored, they don’t have power lines running through them, and they’re not on private property. Even the lighting is usually reasonably consistent.
Originally Posted by greybeard
The artist/photographer is responsible for everything that appears on the print – after all, they’re the one who chose to trigger the shutter at that moment in time, with that specific composition, and with that specific combination of camera, lens, film, aperture and shutter speed. This is true for still life, landscape, figurative, or any other photographs made with an artistic intent. It’s no good saying that a finished print expresses one’s artistic vision, but then following up by adding, “…but I wish that cloud wasn’t there,” or, “…but the model moved,” or, “…but what I really wanted to show was slightly different.”
(Afterthought: I think when the subject is intrinsically engaging it often becomes a distraction which leads to a weaker photograph, because the photographer is spending so much time looking at the model, beach, barn, or whatever, that they forget to spend an equal or greater amount of time on the overall composition.)
When I have a still life idea, I collect the bits and pieces I need, and then compose and re-compose on the ground glass until it’s exactly right. Lighting is usually based on whatever I have to hand. Often my first attempts are not quite right, or I discover something in the print that makes me want to follow a slightly different path. That’s fine: if the idea is sufficiently strong then I just go back and do it again, and again, and again… Actually this is pretty much my approach to non-still life photographs too.
The only logistics problem I usually have is space – making sure that I have sufficient space to manoeuvre my camera and try different lenses, perspectives, compositions, etc. I keep a small collection of backdrops, wedges, clamps, cards, and other weird things to help me position the subjects and “manage” the composition. And if I need something else then it’s usually easy enough to jury rig something.
Last edited by Ian Leake; 10-26-2007 at 12:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Oops, spelling; and added an afterthought