When someone mentions the term “still life,” you probably don’t immediately think of photography. Instead of a camera’s flash, images of paintings highlighting the most mundane of belongings flash in the mind’s eye.
But, there’s quite a lot to be said about the subtle art of photographing assortments of items. Their many varying shapes, sizes and settings can serve as delightful eye candy. Maybe that’s why we can’t stop scrolling through Pinterest pastry feeds.
Still life photography zooms in on the essential qualities of photography by eliminating the overtly exciting facets of the art form in favor of th immobile. A lot of insights can be gleaned from the practice, but we’ve come up with 3 key takeaways from exploring the art of still life snapshots.
To Appreciate the Textures of Everyday Items
Textures surround us on the daily, delivering a rich and varied sensory experience we all but take for granted. If humans had exoskeletons, life would likely be a lot less enjoyable.
“Eve’s love letter” by merilyn-monroe
Still life photography finds the beauty in life’s contrasting textures by pairing and mixing them in each image. A soft, glowing lamp and a sterling mirror… A prickly cactus and an ice cream cone… Such combinations are visually palpable.
“Going UP” by ScythicKitty
To Notice the Interplay of Light and Shadow
Light and dark interplay to all shades of gray in our everyday lives, but such a swirl of visible shades can pass us by unnoticed on most occasions.
“Arrogant showboat” by DinoDragoZilla17
In still life photography, such factors are more readily apparent. Where a reflective chrome bowl imparts dazzling shine, a dull straw basket weaves light in lines over shadows.
“Kodak Moment” by OVEclipse
To Consider the Emotional Appeal of an Arrangement
A deflated basket ball and a leaf might not, on the surface of things, seem particularly moving or evocative, but still life photography encourages us to perceive them as so. Childhood relics? Mementos from a day at the park? Keepsake symbols of a winning game point? These points and more bleed through the film as intention you can feel.
“Dungeons and Dragons” by brandimillerart
Considering meaning when arranging items can completely change their impact on viewers, allowing the literal to be eclipsed by the metaphorical.
“5.1” by absentiae
There you have it! These simple lessons can be learned from conscious practice in still life photography, giving even the greatest artists and photographers a little more to work with.
Give this art form a try. It might just surprise you with more than we’ve mentioned.