Modern Still Life

Maryland, My Maryland Still Life is an art form that depicts inanimate, everyday objects. 

What objects can you include? - food, flowers, rocks, plants, nuts, fruit, shells, sticks, even dead animals. Also, bottles, glasses, books, jewelry, coins, pipes and more. 

Instagram is filled with modern still life and more specifically in what is now called "flat lay." This trend is easy to create with a cell phone because you can use a wide angle lens to fill the frame, any table top flat surface, and easily shoot the camera parallel to the surface. 

Still life can be an excellent way for photographers to play with composition and lighting. Still life studies have long been a staple of the budding artists practice.

Things to consider with selection of your elements and composition:

1) Is there a story, hidden meaning or commentary about life you wish to convey? Still life work is filled with these images.

2) White draws the eye. Be careful if using white or very light objects. They will become the focal point and need to be balanced carefully by the other objects.

3) Objects have visual weight. Some objects just draw more attention. This makes placement of the objects critical in creating a visually stimulating photograph. If you think there is something wrong with the arrangement, try moving the objects into different positions.

4) Negative space is a BIG part of the design. Often it is the negative or empty space that bring the emotional impact to your still life.

5) If your design is over-crowded or your objects fill the frame, it can be great or it can feel like the photo doesn't breathe. Try taking away some of the objects or moving further away to give it more breathing room.

6) At first look, your viewer will see the "group". This is the natural way in which we view the world. If it only if the viewer stays with you that they begin to distinguish the actual objects. Our job is to create a piece of art that people will want to view for more than a glance.

 

Challenge:

1) Create an engaging flat lay style still life using your cell phone. Use everyday objects. Bonus if you create something that is easily translated to make a statement about modern life.

2) Create a more traditional style still life. Be sure to use negative space and lighting to give your still life impact.

 

You can post your photographs to our Facebook page for Photo Society MD/VA/DC. Or join us on Meetup.com. 


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