The True Essence of Still Life Photography

It is believed that the origin of still life photography is entrenched within the romanticism of conventional mode of painting. If we shed light over the inherent meaning of still life, we can perceive it as a fundamental illustration of natural world in relation to a higher degree of scenic experience. While working with a canvas, a painter presents his dilemma, frustration, depression, enjoyment, aesthetic sense with the help of the brush and color. The same thing is true for a photographer, who uses his still life photography technique to express the inner feelings in order to make each and every photograph unique.

The Blend

In 17th century, still life painting raised to the level of fine art. These paintings were largely rich in their unique application of texture and vibrant colors along with radiant emphasis over multitude of shadowing. The scenes of the painting primarily focused on rich heritage of that time, illustrating the layers of food served on the table, packed with the costly wine, fine clothes, etc. The subjects of still life photography by that time were not abstract or complicated. The unique essence was derived by the special rendering and treatments given by the photographers. While Salvador Dali and Cezanne did much experimentation beyond the traditional limitation of painting, the periphery of still life photography was developed to a greater extent by Andre Kertesz and Man Ray.

A 'Blank' Canvas

Similar to the painting, when a photographer starts his still life photography, he actually initiates the process from a 'blank' canvas. There is no single scratch on it. Typically the still life photography is developed through the process of illustrating the scene in an empty space, where textures, shapes, colors, and tones are applied to give the photography a desired character. In addition, photographers exploit the lighting arrangement to give the photography a higher dimension. The last but not the least, darkroom skills are essential to make the picture seeable to the spectators.

The Application

Quite prevalently, the elements used in still life photography are not dynamic in nature. While learning the technique of still life photography, the learner knows about the in-depth aspect of camera view and camera perspective in addition to the lessons incorporating the segments like composition, use of light, color balance, contrast and concord of all ingredients. In other words, still life photography is an autonomous expression in which all of the ingredients combine to provide a unique contribution to the overall outcome. The application of still life photography is wide and varied including advertising, book covers, catalogue painting, brochure designing and many others. In fact, anything and every thing can be the subject of still life photography.