Friday, March 25, 2011

Photographic Still Life



Good morning, dear bloggers! How are you this fine morning? We have had a bellyful of bad weather here in New Jersey this week, and I'm battling a cold. I don't really have anything too exciting to report, so I thought I would show you my latest artistic endeavor -- making photographic still life images.

It started as a word prompt from a photo group on flickr. The Shutter Divas group is run by Christina Greve, whose wonderful blog Divas and Dreams is an inspiring place to visit if you love photography. Every Sunday, she posts a word prompt for the week. This week's word was "polka dots." So I searched for some polka dots and came up with a few pastel dish towels and small bowls from HomeGoods. How to include them in a photo? I thought I would take a crack at making up a traditional still life image.

And wow, it's harder than it looks. It took me a while to come up with a decent composition. I just love all the old still life paintings from the nineteenth century, and I have also been inspired by contemporary photographers who mimic that style.




I've been setting these up in our living room, with the dark fireplace as a backdrop. There is strong natural light coming from camera left. I actually used a wooden cutting board on top of a small end table for the surface. The point of view is from straight on or slightly above. The "brushstrokes" you see are achieved with a texture overlay, which is brushed off on a layer mask in Photoshop.




And now I'm addicted to shooting still life. I can't wait to try more. Finally, all those thrift store finds are going to shine! lol

31 comments:

  1. Happy Friday ~ beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. These would be beautiful framed ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you've found a new venue!!! These are awesome...love the texture and the milkglass!!!
    Have a beautiful weekend!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love these photos. Thanks for the info. I will have to visit Diva Dreams. Just got a new camera, and still struggling. This may help. See you over there!

    Pat

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mary,

    Beautiful still life photos! Your blog has really inspired me to try photographing different subjects. I can't wait for the weather to improve here in New York. Hope you are feeling better soon!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WOW! EXCELLENT! I love each one of your shots, they are just INCREDIBLE!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Mary,
    What beautiful still life vignettes. It made me stop and want to paint. I love the Shutter Sisters, and have really fallen in love with Photoshop these days. Photography is a new passion. Your photographs are stunning. We have blue skies here in New England today. We only had a dusting of snow yesterday. I saw robins in the yard today, they might as well have held up little flags that said be patient, Spring weather will be here soon.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  7. My favorite: "No.3 with a Grapefruit"

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mary, you're obviously not allowing rotten weather and a cold hold you down. These still live compositions are really great. It sounds like fun to receive a theme and work from there.

    ReplyDelete
  9. These are just stunning photos, Mary. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your still life compositions are beautiful. Those 19th century (and earlier) artists knew how to put things together, didn't they? And every object had a meaning, or told a story. I like your polka dot story.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Mary!
    How beautiful! I love still life photo's and yours are always an inspiration. I'm still plugging away at my photography...haven't really done a lot as I'm struggling with my 'creative' side. I'm hoping that once we get our bathroom renovation done and then get caught up on outdoor things that I'll be able to start playing more seriously with my camera. I haven't been able to visit my favorite blogs for a while so I'm trying to catch up today before I have to start painting again. Sigh..no rest for the wicked ;) I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Maura :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, what fun! The last one is my favorite. And Mary ~ I am drooling over Xaomena's still life set. I've just spent a half hour over there. Incredible.
    I can see you doing this. But yes, I'm sure it's much more difficult than it looks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good for you, Mary! Sometimes I experiment with still life but I don't have as many thrift store finds as you do. I'm sort of a minimalist when it comes to that stuff, mostly because I don't have anyplace to put it all!

    Keep at it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. These are some great compositions. Enjoyed your artwork.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've always been drawn to still lifes. I never thought about photographic still lifes though. Great idea and nice compositions!

    ReplyDelete
  17. finding the perfect problem would be a problem for me but I suppose you could drape a dark cloth over something. Very nice still life photos Mary! I hope spring arrives for you soon!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ou I'd love to paint that still life!
    Beautiful composition!

    Smiles,
    Dolly

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ah, HA! You're doing what I'm still too chicken to try. I love these, Mary! They're very fresh and, you've really done it - they're good! =] Some of my favorite still life photographers (and I haven't even begun to explore the genre, you know, right?) are Patricia Romero, David Brittain and Laura Resen. They have some really inspiring stuff on their websites. (They're in the link list of favorite photographers at the bottom of my photo journal page, if you're interested and want it easy. =])

    Still hoping that you're feeling ever better. Tom and my sister have been irritated to death with their colds for a good week, now.

    Love, Katy

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks, everyone!

    Katy, don't be chicken. Just shoot it! (to paraphrase Nike) lol

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think these still life shots are fabulous. I love photography so better hop over and take a look at the site you recommend.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Your still lifes are great! I love the last one the best. I had that same milk glass pitcher until a major catastrophe struck my china cabinet!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Mary....feel better !!!

    Awesome pics

    Kathy :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful still life Mary! I love the contrast of the white against the dark background.

    ReplyDelete
  25. These are truly nice enough to frame. Very pretty.
    CAS

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so glad I found your blog. Its wonderful

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you! Now I have something new to try!
    I love your polka dots.
    See you for MM.

    ReplyDelete
  28. oh Mary...love your latest photographic direction!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's really beautiful and resembles an old painting!

    ReplyDelete
  30. great still life for sure - the last is just the best light and composition

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love to hear what you have to say!