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Old Apr 9, 2009, 8:18 AM   #1
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As I look back at previous challenges, I noticed that we have never had a STILL LIFE challenge, even though still life has been worked into many challenges including the recent plastics challenge.

From Wikipedia
Still life photography is the depiction of inanimate subject matter, most typically a small grouping of objects that are either human-made or "natural." Still life photography, more so than other types of photography, such as landscape or portraiture, gives the photographer more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition.

From shutterbug.net
Keep It Simple
Simplicity is very important when composing still lifes. You don't need to collect a wide range of complicated objects to create an interesting picture. Instead, choose a few objects with a common thread. The arrangement of a still life should begin with the positioning of a single dominant subject. Then add other objects one at a time, and examine the arrangement through your camera's viewfinder. Experiment with your camera angle until the scene shows the elements in the most pleasing balance. Photograph the original grouping, and then rearrange or remove objects to see if it improves the composition.
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Old Apr 17, 2009, 3:20 AM   #2
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Members clearly have different ideas about what consitutes a 'still life', and I asked at one stage for an elucidation of the term 'classical still life'. Thedefinition in the 'challenge'announcement includes two definitions, one quite broad, and the second much more specific, for example in referring to a single dominant object. However that is just a reference from one other photographic forum, and surely Steve's forums know just as much!

I just did a little browsing on the term 'still life', with entertaining and educational results. Below are some of the links I found (not in my own order of preference). The definitions are mostly pretty broad, but the illustrations accompanying them cover an extraordinary range.They include historical works of art deemed to be 'still lifes' but which aren't anything like that to my mind. There are even several including human figures, even in frozen action in extreme cases! However, I found the exercise clarified my ideas considerably.

I'll be away for the end of the challenge, and maynot manage even one further entry, but I hope this helps others for the last few days. There have been some great shots, and everything fits at least one definition! For those who are interested...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Still_life
http://arthistory.about.com/od/gloss...still_life.htm
http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/s/still-life.html
http://www.timetrips.co.uk/still_life_history.htm

...and many more. Have fun!


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Old Apr 17, 2009, 8:00 PM   #3
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It seems in this challenge the first thought of the photographer is, Oh this is a nice picture.....and it gets submitted whether it follows the guidelines of being a still life or not. Simply creating a setup of some inanimate objects with a common theme and central focus is not that easy in making it pleasing to look at without there being a feeling something is missing, out of place or just plain wrong. Thats why this challenge is a good one. Its more than just simple photography. There's a bit of creativity involved too. Also this is a challenge and there should be some feedback by people. Not just gawking and moving on. A word of criticism, approval, disapproval or praise is welcome by one and all. How can we learn without looking through the eyes of someone else and getting a different point of view. If anyone can dispute what Ive just said or have something of their own to say please do so. There is lots of room for lots of ideas.
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Old Apr 20, 2009, 5:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for your feedback Alan and bynx. I think we can all agree at this point that 'still life' is wide open to interpretation. I think these challenges are particularly pleasing to me because I like to see what this creative group comes up with.
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