Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Some Still Life  (Read 2337 times)
John R Smith
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357


Still crazy, after all these years


« on: April 26, 2011, 05:36:37 AM »
ReplyReply

I have come to the conclusion that I am just not a spontaneous person. I’ve known this for many years, really, but reviewing my photographic output and direction recently I have come to the realisation that no matter how hard I try, I just cannot change my basic nature. And this is reflected in the sort of photographs I take.

I think this problem of mine (if indeed it is a problem) is at the root of my photographic dilemma. Almost all my work in the past has been centred around a theme which I would title “documentary landscape” – that is, landscape photography not so much as fine art but more as a commentary on the passage of time and the seasons in the community where I live. When I do try to broaden my scope into areas involving people – environmental portraiture, candid stuff, what you might call rural “street” photography, my attempts at informal and spontaneous stuff are generally rubbish. I’m actually completely hopeless at taking snapshots of friends and family, and I gave up trying years ago.

You might remember a series I posted on this section of the Forum last year, which featured pictures from various summer rallies and shows in Cornwall. The best ones were always the shots which were in fact posed, or the ones where it looked as if I had posed them. The more formal and structured the situation was, the more convincing the result. So, sadly, a Cartier-Bresson I shall never be. You might guess from all of this that I would be much more comfortable dealing with a subject where every element was totally predictable and under control – still life.

We don’t see much in the way of still-life on here, perhaps it’s not too popular a form these days. I don’t set stuff up in a studio or anything like that, but tend to use “found” objects which are just around the house and garden – and available light, of course. Here’s a couple that were shot on film a while back with the 120mm S-Planar. As usual, your comments are invited, not just on the pictures but on the topic of still life itself – always a subject of deep importance to painting, but perhaps less so within contemporary photography?

John
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 07:52:43 AM by John R Smith » Logged

Hasselblad 500 C/M, SWC and CFV-39 DB
and a case full of (very old) lenses and other bits
Dave (Isle of Skye)
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 932


Don't mistake lack of talent for genius.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 07:35:51 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi John,

I like the subtle tones in your images and I also dabble in still life myself when the weather is too bad, and even though I started out with the basics as you have done here, i.e., available light and found objects etc, I soon realised that I needed more than that to create a successful image. So, without breaking the bank, I ordered some cheap daylight clamp lights from a well known online retailer, got a couple of cheap stands and now I set up using these and occasionally, I can get some pretty decent images out of it.

Below is a very early example of an image of Tulips that I tried to create with a calming soft glow etc, not very successful in the club I might add, as it got comments of it's too blurry for me, or it's too arty farty, we don't like arty farty here etc - but what the heck, it got me going and many hours of happy experimentation have followed.

So in short, I really do like the tones, but I would advise getting some cheap lights and making still life setups rather than taking images of what just happens to be there - but that's just me I suppose.

Photobloke

Logged

Photography Tuition holidays on the Misty Isle of Skye
http://www.photography.info
John R Smith
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357


Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 07:49:38 AM »
ReplyReply

Bloke

I find your tulips to be subtly abstracted and very well conceived. In my case, the "found" nature of the subject is terribly important, and I try not to manipulate the setting in any way. I might sometimes use a white reflector to give myself a bit of fill light. This applies to similar work in church interiors and other interesting buildings, which I enjoy as well.

John
Logged

Hasselblad 500 C/M, SWC and CFV-39 DB
and a case full of (very old) lenses and other bits
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 08:12:29 AM »
ReplyReply

John,

I hate to tell you, but you are normal.

Your problem isn’t a problem at all – look on it as a blessing because now that you know, you have just saved yourself a hell of a lot of time. Unless you are working to satisfy the cost of living, there’s absolutely no need to do anything other than that which you enjoy. The need to be the jack rests only on the GP; anybody else should specialise in what they love, just as I did. My own troubles started after the working days were over, when the specialty became an expensive game I couldn’t play on my own account. So, like you but for different reasons, I flirted with this, that and the other, until I reached such a high of confusion and disappointment that I damn near gave it all up. In fact, for many months I did do just that: nothing but bitch to myself and anyone who couldn’t run away or cover their ears.

So where to go next? Wish I knew. Been through the markets, the beaches, the boats and the musicians and they all turn to ashes in my mouth.

Your still lifes are beautiful; stay with them and screw added lights! God always knows best.

Rob
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 03:32:25 PM by Rob C » Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5717



WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 09:45:19 AM »
ReplyReply

John, This is certainly the best of your work I've seen so far. I'm not a huge fan of still life, but I do it too when I see something that really catches my fancy. I don't think I've ever done a still life as good as these two, and over the years I've done quite a few. This is your metier, for sure. Bravo!
Logged

Dave (Isle of Skye)
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 932


Don't mistake lack of talent for genius.


WWW
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 10:00:29 AM »
ReplyReply


... and screw added lights! God always knows best.

Unfortunately God is usually unwilling to shine his light for me by the time I get home from work, so I have to make my own...!

Photobloke

Logged

Photography Tuition holidays on the Misty Isle of Skye
http://www.photography.info
William Walker
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 414



WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 10:16:40 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi John

I posted elsewhere here today that I would be adding my "five bob's worth" on the simple basis of "like" and "not so much".

Your pictures, regardless of content, have a certain classy quality in terms how they are presented. They are polished.

These two are the same: the "Grasses in Front Room" is really lovely - my immediate feeling was "William Bailey", whose still life paintings are my favourite. That is about the best compliment I can pay you!

I like the high contrast, the more subdued "Kitchen Window" is probably too subtle for my young (compared to some of you old buggers!) taste.

I would have "Grasses" printed and framed by now!

William
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 03:28:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Unfortunately God is usually unwilling to shine his light for me by the time I get home from work, so I have to make my own...!

Photobloke



So listen to The Man; work nights and keep your days creative.

;-)

Rob C
Logged

wolfnowl
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5560



WWW
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 12:31:30 AM »
ReplyReply

John:  It's say the first one is good, attractive even, but the second one is excellent.  It seems you have found your niche!!

Mike.
Logged

If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
EduPerez
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 682


WWW
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 02:12:30 AM »
ReplyReply

I have come to the conclusion that I am just not a spontaneous person. I’ve known this for many years, really, but reviewing my photographic output and direction recently I have come to the realisation that no matter how hard I try, I just cannot change my basic nature. And this is reflected in the sort of photographs I take.
[...]
John

Could not agree more... but our personality not only determines what we photograph, but also how we photograph it; two anecdotes that evidenced this for me:

#1 - I once spent a full morning wandering around the business area in my city, trying to make some architectural photographs from all those great office buildings; at the end of the day, I just kept the shots of smaller details that I took while looking down.

#2 - I once photographed a party I attended, full of tipsy / drunken people arguing like mad; yet on the photographs, they all look calm and civil.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 02:44:03 AM »
ReplyReply

Could not agree more... but our personality not only determines what we photograph, but also how we photograph it; two anecdotes that evidenced this for me:

#1 - I once spent a full morning wandering around the business area in my city, trying to make some architectural photographs from all those great office buildings; at the end of the day, I just kept the shots of smaller details that I took while looking down.

#2 - I once photographed a party I attended, full of tipsy / drunken people arguing like mad; yet on the photographs, they all look calm and civil.


That's because they were probably Spanish; continentals have a better idea of how to carry their drink: aggression isn't such a phenomenon. Unless it's accompanied by the curse of football.

;-)

Rob C
Logged

stamper
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2389


« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 03:22:27 AM »
ReplyReply

Nobody can shoot all of the photographic subjects well. If they think they can then they are kidding themselves. I listened to a camera club judge, who had been a photographer for decades, stating that eventually you have to specialize in something after doing all of the obvious things. His forte turned out to be doors of buildings, especially churches. John you have found your forte in still life and landscapes. Play to your strengths. As you grow older don't shoot birds in skimpy bikinis....as some have done. Wink Grin
Logged

John R Smith
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357


Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2011, 03:26:42 AM »
ReplyReply

As you grow older don't shoot birds in skimpy bikinis....as some have done. Wink Grin

Well, chance would be a fine thing . . .

Come to think of it, perhaps I have missed my calling  Cool

John

Logged

Hasselblad 500 C/M, SWC and CFV-39 DB
and a case full of (very old) lenses and other bits
John R Smith
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1357


Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2011, 09:09:47 AM »
ReplyReply

By-the-by, thank you all for your feedback and interesting comments. I'm pleased that you liked the pictures - I have to admit, I do enjoy doing this sort of very intimate work, but then I have long gaps when I neglect still-life subjects. The thing that really got me going with it was getting the 120mm S-Planar, which is a specialist near-field lens (not a macro, by the way). The results from that were so amazing that I started shooting anything that didn't move where I could get my tripod set up.

John
Logged

Hasselblad 500 C/M, SWC and CFV-39 DB
and a case full of (very old) lenses and other bits
Christoph C. Feldhaim
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2508


There is no rule! No - wait ...


« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2011, 10:11:59 AM »
ReplyReply

I just want to give three short comments - something like first spontaneous thoughts:

1. I like the images
2. Get a Leica X1 or the Fuji X100 and go out to the street - just as a widening of your personal horizon and NOT with the goal of taking good photographs. Just a a personal execise to push your limits. Or not just even this - just as a game - toying - like a child.
3. Get a monorail large format camera.

Nuff said ...

Cheers
~C.
Logged

Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2011, 01:38:21 PM »
ReplyReply

Nobody can shoot all of the photographic subjects well. If they think they can then they are kidding themselves. I listened to a camera club judge, who had been a photographer for decades, stating that eventually you have to specialize in something after doing all of the obvious things. His forte turned out to be doors of buildings, especially churches. John you have found your forte in still life and landscapes. Play to your strengths. As you grow older don't shoot birds in skimpy bikinis....as some have done. Wink Grin


Good advice, but if you can find out how these older guys pulled it off, let me know! I'm aways ready to take the chance of flying egg if it's in a good cause.

Rob C
Logged

popnfresh
Guest
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 06:36:10 PM »
ReplyReply

So, sadly, a Cartier-Bresson I shall never be.

"Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant." - Cary Grant

Don't worry, John. 99.9% of HCB's photos sucked. We only saw the tiny percentage that comprised the high points of his output.

BTW, I love both still lifes, especially #2.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 06:38:34 PM by popnfresh » Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2011, 02:11:10 AM »
ReplyReply

"Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant." - Cary Grant

Don't worry, John. 99.9% of HCB's photos sucked. We only saw the tiny percentage that comprised the high points of his output.

BTW, I love both still lifes, especially #2.



That's good news: it makes me feel myself a star, because I felt perfectly happy with an average of one good 'un in thirty-six! At least, that was my mental budget for shooting fashion; for calendars it was a different set of mental rules and I settled for thirteen shots out of maybe seventy cassettes. On roll, it was one in twelve. Go figure.

Love photography; it drives the 'logic' of maths into despair.

;-)

Rob
Logged

Heinz
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 70


« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2011, 02:50:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi John,

I really enjoy the 2nd pic. It's a great image, nice lighting and tones. Well done.
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5717



WWW
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2011, 04:17:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Don't worry, John. 99.9% of HCB's photos sucked. We only saw the tiny percentage that comprised the high points of his output.

Pop, I suspect the ratio was a good deal better than that when you look at the number of at least satisfactory shots in a book like his The People of Moscow, and consider how much film he'd have had to carry if only one out of 1000 shots were satisfactory. But I've said it before, if a street photographer gets one shot a year he'd be willing to stake his reputation on, he's doing very well.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 09:34:25 AM by RSL » Logged

Pages: [1] 2 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad