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Still Life Photography

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Harley Baskin

Ms. Miley


Still Life

There are many different approaches one can take in doing still life photography. Depending on the photographer's perspective, a still life photograph can be made with any inanimate object. The definition of still life photography is depicting an inanimate subject matter while controlling the subject, lighting, mood, and composition. The artist is more likely to be a director, although the subject is inanimate. The photographer will most of the time arrange the object(s) in a certain way to make the photo more appealing. Other times, the photographer will take the picture without changing the scene, but instead just adjust the lighting. Many times still lifes consist of artificial lighting. Each still life photographer is unique.

Still life photography was first seen in the interiors of Ancient Egyptian tombs. It was believed that food objects and other items depicted in their tomb would, in the afterlife, become real and available for use. Still lifes continued to evolve and adjust up until present day. In the 20th and 21st century, instead of just being seen in paintings and drawings, still life has become a part of photography as well.

The first artist that I researched is Clara Tuma. She is a commercial and editorial photographer. She specializes in food photography. She has shot for almost every major magazine in the country. I was impressed with her artwork because her work really catches the attention of your eye. For example, her photographs of food are very simplistic. She uses a solid colored background (usually white), and artificial lighting; this helps add to the colors in the subject matter and make it more eye-catching. In her decorative and interior photographs, she takes the pictures at an angle that makes the room look very peaceful. Clara's travel photographs do an exceptional job of capturing a scene or a place from her perspective. "Clara is known for her sensitive approach to her subject matter while she loves to bring out the beauty in everything," says Clara Tuma's biography. Each one of her photographs have a peaceful and subtle feel to them.

The second photographer I researched is Norimichi Inoguchi. He was born in Japan and grew up in New York, where he discovered his passion for still-life photography. He has photographed for the best names in fashion, cosmetics, and electronics such as Avon, L'OREAL Paris, and Samsung. His pictures are very professional. They are sophisticated and have great composition and excellent quality. He uses artificial lighting as well. He portrays and advertises the products that he photographs in a way that makes people want to buy it.

The first picture I chose from Clara Tuma's photography is of the different colored carrots. I found this picture neat because it gives you a perspective of carrots that you do not usually see. When I first looked at this picture I did not even know they were carrots. The angle in which she took the pictures and the detail and artificial lighting makes this an extremely interesting photo. Also, she uses simplicity, as she does in most of her still lifes of food. The white background puts emphasis on the carrots. She uses shallow depth of field which creates an even more unique view of the carrots. Clara Tuma does a great job of taking something so insignificant and making it into a piece of artwork.

The second picture of chose from Clara Tuma's photography is the picture of the mushrooms. I liked this picture for most of the same reasons I liked the one of the carrots. She uses such a unique approach, yet uses simplicity. Again, the white background puts emphasis on the mushrooms. Instead of looking dirty, she makes the mushrooms look almost fake. The lighting creates a peaceful mood to the picture as well. These photos influenced my work.



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