Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Still-Lifes 2

On a sunny morning, in the middle and late parts of morning, light floods into my kitchen and dining room. There's a spot on the white counter, to the left of the sink, where the light comes in at a hard angle, especially in winter. This is a spot I find I'm using often as a still-life studio. I like bright sunlight for still-life photography, with strong shadows, and light coming through whatever I'm photographing. There's another spot in the sunlight at the other end of the kitchen that I've used for sunlit flower photography.

the kitchen

Sometimes arrangements are accidental, sometimes deliberate. It's usually the quality of the light that catches my attention. Light has always been central to my art, even as a composer and writer. I've made this explicit in a recent poem, requiescat in lux, for a family friend who recently died, and in text-sound poetry pieces such as Light.

Qualities of light are what catch my attention. The changing of the light is something I'm always aware of, and can observe for hours. Even while I putter around doing other things, the light catches my attention. It can stop me in my tracks.

maple syrup arrangement

So this corner of the kitchen, because of the white counter on a sunny day, makes for a useful still-life studio. I'm building a more formal photography studio in the basement room, now, hanging some backcloths and lights from the roofbeams, so I drop them when I need them, and otherwise store them out of the way. I have a table there that I can drape with the backdrops, to use as a studio still-life table. The possibilities continue to develop.

maple syrup refraction

I love the way the sunlight passes through glass and, in this case, maple syrup, and the shapes and colors it splashes onto the white counter. I've photographed wine bottles on the counter, in similar ways. I keep looking, keep seeing, keep seeing new things, and photographing them.

Still-lifes are a useful practice, for any photographer. They're like technical etudes wherein you're working out a particular visual problem, or exploring new ways of seeing. You are free to experiment and fail because you're not photographing for a client or a project. You're free to fail. And that's how we learn.

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Blogger Dave King said...

The best photographs are not of people or of objects, but are of light. You show that here admirably.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks, Dave. That was my hope.

5:56 PM  

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