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?