Lens-Artists Challenge #246 – Still Life
“What photograph isn’t a still life?”Gary Winograndyou
The quote below my opening image, I must admit, cracked me up! It’s true isn’t it – unless it’s a video most any photograph is clearly a still life. That said, Patti’s challenge has asked us to share images of still life in the more artistic, traditional sense. I’ll admit it is not something I focus on, nor am I very skilled at it. But the beauty of the Lens-Artists challenges is that sometimes they push us out of our comfort zone and so, here we go 😊.
My opening image was captured during a trip to the south of France – where somehow the food always looks and tastes incredible. Below, another image from the same journey, captured inside an ancient church. I was enthralled with the hymnal and the beautiful walls.
“Still life subjects will often reflect a clearer picture of a photographic artist’s imaginative vision.”Paul Outerbridge
Leaving France behind, we journey to China, where everywhere one turns there is a still life waiting to be made. The first, below, a simple arrangement of chairs that drew my eye immediately.
“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”Dorothea Lange
On the subject of evoking an immediate response, I found the image below an interesting portrait of life in China’s small towns. Children played in the streets, deliveries were made by bicycle, and this configuration, a local barbershop, was set up on the street for passers-by.
“Still life painting has more to do with light and shadow than with the objects themselves.”William C. Wright
Next, two images from Cambodia. On the left, I was drawn to the simple yet elegant arrangement, on the right, it was the careful detail of the offering that called to me.
“A great still life can evoke an emotional response to an object.”Adam West
Finally, an image I captured in Mexico some years ago. In addition to the natural beauty of the landscape and seaside surrounding us, this simple composition from a resort pool drew my eye and my lens.
“Still life is the touchstone of painting.”Edouard Manet
Clearly Patti’s skill at both creating and capturing elegant still life scenes is far beyond mine, but I enjoyed the opportunity to think outside of my usual box. I encourage you to visit her beautiful post here, and to step up to the challenge with your own examples. Be sure to link to her original post and to use the Lens-Artists tag to appear in our reader section.
Thanks also to those who responded to last week’s Environment challenge. It was so interesting to see the diversity of responses, proving that there is beauty to be found no matter what type of surroundings we find ourselves in. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine will lead us once again. Until then, as always please stay safe, be kind, and enjoy the journey.
Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.
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Lovely pictures and I love your quotes about photography!
Outstandingly beautiful collection, Tina! I loved them all – the colours, the compositions, everything about them. The first two are my favourites, but the last one is so serene it stays in my mind.
Thank you Ann-Christine. A challenging challenge ☺️. Happy to see so many responses!
Welcome on my blog if you are interested in light subject: chapitrelumiere.wordpress.com
I liked your picture of the market, Tina. Great minds think alike! My favorite was of the chairs and table. A simple yet elegant setting.
Thanks Siobhan – and we were not alone with the veggies this week! A popular still life subject I suppose. The 2 chairs it seems are the favorite for this week. we never know what will resonate do we?!
I must say that photography keeps us still while we are surrounded by life. Oh that vegetable stand, Tina, I wish they remain fresh always as the picture.
So true Perpetua, photographs mean we never grow old, right?!
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Beautiful images and compositions Tina and such a lovely response to the challenge 💖
Thanks very much Xenia
we are not sure how ‘still life’ is defined but our idea of still lives is based on the Emblemata of the Baroque and the Flemish paintings of the 16th and 17th c. Basic to all these are abstract ideas or proverbs like “memento mori” or “carpe diem”. Most of these classic still lives deal with death or decay. The first quote is, for our understanding, misleading. When every photograph is seen as a still life then ‘still life’ can be every picture and the the notion of ‘still life’ becomes meaningless.
Wishing you all the best – and nevertheless we like your pictures
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hello Klausbernd and thanks for the comment. Fortunately we and most others were following the expanded definition of “still life” as set by Patti in her challenge. Of course we understand the classical definition of still life as you described it. Were we publishing for an art journal we would of course approach the challenge in a different way. Best to you as well, and to the rest of the Fab Four!
Lovely images and the one in the header is also very suitable for this challenge
Many thanks Ritva – LOL my husband said the same thing! I should have put that one in the post rather than the header as most never see the header. 20=20 hindsight as they say!
Tina, glad your husband I agree😊
I loved the quote. I’m not particularly talented at still-life pictures either, but I think you have done a great job! My favorite is the picture of the chairs and table. That turned out to be very artistic. I don’t have a natural flair for art, but fortunately, there are some things you can learn. Patti inspired me to look for the still-life opportunities presented by others! Have a great week, Tina.
Thanks Marsha – I think many of us feel as you do and it was good to stretch our wings a bit for the challenge. Appreciate as always your visit and comment.
I ran into some luck with mine in that we found some great store window displays. I should take some design classes in order to function as a still-life artist.
You’ve really captured great still life images, Tina! I love the simplicity of the barber’s set up, the fresh produce, the Buddhas, but the one that really speaks to me is the hymnal and the beautiful painted wall. What a unique shot! I love the story it tells. Have a great week, too, Tina. Thanks so much for your very kind thoughts. I surprised myself by enjoying still life photography!
We’ll Patti, this one really WAS a challenge for me. Thanks for the motivation. The hymnal was the first thing I thought of for this one. It was such an amazing place. Beauty everywhere u looked. A nice revisit to that memory 😊
Yes, indeed, the first quote says it all. lol.
Why is it that the produce in markets looks so bright and fresh? It works, doesn’t it? Centuries of farmers sure know what they are doing. We used to enjoy going to Seattles Pike Place market, for that reason. And we always spent twice the price, because it was fresh, and delicious. T
his was a great gallery Tina. Interesting barbershop, and I love the simplicity of the photo even without knowing its purpose. I can picture the kids playing while dad “gets it done”.I especially loved the hymnal and the quote by Lange. Always a pleasure to wander though your space…and your life.
Thanks Donna – the” barbershop” was so odd I had to capture it! If only they’d had someone getting a haircut LOL!!
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This challenge has gotten me to think, even though I haven’t met the challenge yet. Your photos set a mood with such simple setups.
Thanks Dan – I know you’ll find the perfect response as always!
Tina, your photos have begun looking like painted works of art. The shave and haircut, two chairs and the three vessels are stunning in simplicity and composition. Also your quotes go so well with your pictures. Can’t imagine how you get such gems week after week. Kudos!
Thanks Sheetal, it’s definitely a labor of love LOL. Some weeks are much easier than others where quotes are concerned. This one was a bit of a challenge I’ll admit!
Very inspiring, Tina. When looking at your images, a few others from my archive come up to my mind😁
I love especially the farmers market stand and the book of notes 👍👍
Many thanks Andre, I saw several others chose farmers’ market scenes so I guess they qualify!
😁 At least, I haven’t ever seen or heard a farmers market desk subject complaining about being called a part of a stillife 😊😊😊
I love the creativity in these shots, Tina. They’re all beautiful.
Thanks so much Kellye, I was happy with Patti’s expansion of the still life definition 😊
You do yourself an injustice, you have some excellent still life images showcased here 😀 I love the ones from Cambodia in particular, and that fabulous shot of the hymnal in the French church!
Many thanks Sarah – I must admit I’ve never been drawn to still life photography but I was surprised at how many of the responses really made me rethink that. I appreciate your mentioning the Cambodia images, I loved those 3 buddhas and the “offering” actually had 2 people praying at it which I have in another image. It was a very moving scene.
Great great photos, always the best. I’m with Winograndyou, anything works!
Thanks John – I LOVE anything works!!
I love both the images and the quotes, Tina.
Many thanks Rupali
I think I’ve been with you 🤯 on all of these trips but don’t see what you see 😵💫 ….oh well. Great stuff …my two favs the header and French Fare
Actually you often point out scenes I’d have otherwise missed 😊. Excellent teamwork. (BTW I should have included the header as one of the images in the post. Oh well indeed.
You definitely got your head round this challenge! I like the edible offering best.
Thanks Margaret – somehow the French really know how to do food LOL.
I think your comfort zone is wider than you think 🙂 Again, a challenge like this one just shows to ourselves what we can do. I love your photo of the 2 chairs, the simplicity is so beautiful. I remember the french church one, it is one of my favourites too, glorious colours!
Many thanks Sofia – the church was incredible. One of those memories that stays with you.
Love the Gary Winograndyou quote.
Lovely examples. (I was scratching my head as to what exactly is still-life photos and you gave the answers)
Love the three vessels and six water outlets (3²) combination!
Shave & Haircut takes the cake!
Thanks Philo – definitely a challenge this week!
You are welcome, Tina Schell
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There is a beautiful variety to your photos.
Thanks Nora, I’ve been fortunate to have seen so much in my travels.
I love the quote about every photo being a still life image… just like every photo of me was taken when I was younger. >grin<
Seriously, great selections for the challenge. My favorite is the vegetable stand.
Thanks John – grin indeed my friend!
Wonderful Tina. The two chairs is my favourite 🙂
Thanks Brian, it does seem to be this week’s pick!
What a wonderful response to the “still life” challenge.
Many thanks Anne – must admit I was a bit nervous about this one but once I got into it I enjoyed it.
Shave and Haircut really caught my attention… what an eye you have whether it is moving or stationery!
Thanks GF, much appreciated. Amazing the things that catch your eye as you travel through other worlds.
Amazing the variety you can portray in still life, Tina. The simplicity of the Chinese ones spoke to me, though I’m not a hundred percent sure I’d use that barber. Have a great week, hon!
LOL for the barbershop Jo, afraid I must agree with you. But it sure was a captivating scene for my lens! The chairs on the other hand were truly beautiful in their simplicity. Thanks as always for stopping by.
You’ve done a marvelous job at capturing still life in its many forms, Tina! I agree with you, I don’t always aim my lens at these but some, like yours, really cried out to be noticed. Fruit stands always make a great composition, don’t they?
Thanks Terri. Agree whole-heartedly about the food stands, especially in France! It’s funny, I’ve never thought about a “still-life” per se but was surprised to find that many of my images could qualify for the style. Who knew?!
That quote about photography and still life is funny, isn’t it?! Makes you think… Two Chairs is so lovely in its simplicity. Your photos are always wonderful, but I keep going back to the Two Chairs.
Thanks very much Lois – I hear you about those chairs. Somehow the simplest things are often the most striking.
Can anyone resist photographing a market? And that hymn book is just sublime. As usual an interesting post from you Tina, one I always look forward to.
LOL, so true Jude, especially the ones in France! Glad you enjoyed the hymn book, one of my favorite finds from among my travels. Thanks for the lovely comment.
Love these! I also love that quote about the photograph being still life. So true! Thanks for the inspiration! I think I’m inspired enough to create something.
Thanks Toby, yes that one struck me too 😊. Happy to have you joining us!
Your photos are just amazing Tina!
Many thanks Aletta, glad you enjoyed
I remember the outdoor markets in the south of France – the vegetables and olives! That quiet setting of two chairs in China really grabbed me!
Thanks so much Lindy – yes, the food in the the markets was not only beautifully displayed it was equally delicious!
Wow! What a marvellous set of Found still Lifes from around the world, Tina! Brilliantly photographed, as ever. Was ‘Days gone by’ from Oppède?
Many thanks Sue – and yes, from Oppede. Have you been there? Such an amazing little church.
I recall you posting this image before…I’ve been, but didn’t get inside the church….
I love this collection because (to me) there is a lot a subtlety to them. That first pic is eye-popping! Hope all is well with you … I’ve been swamped! YIKES!
Swamped is GOOD Frank! Thanks so much – hoping you’re well also.
Thanks for the reminder that still life photo opportunities are everywhere. Excellent photos 😀
Thanks so much Cee – well said. Gotta admit I was surprised at finding images that fit the challenge in my archives.
I’ve got some tulips and daffodils blooming right now, I’m trying to come up with clever ways of photographing them. We’ll see if they work out. I always have archives to fall back on. 😀 😀
Exactly my thoughts as in your opening quote Tina 😀. Had a nice journey to places I’ve not been to, with your pictures 🙂.
Thanks PR, glad you enjoyed the journey
I, too, loved the opening quote! So very true…
As always, you have given wonderful and varying examples of the challenge! Especially liked the one from Mexico of the resort pool.
Thanks Laurel – it was a really beautiful resort in Cabo. That configuration was really striking.
Still life images from around the world, what a treat! And so well photographed. Thank you Tina.
Many thanks Anne – once I got started I enjoyed this one altho I found it a bit more challenging than usual I’ll admit!