Lens-Artists Challenge #246 – Still Life

vegetables, french, France,
Luscious French Fare

“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.

hymnal, colorful, church, walls
Days Gone By

“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.

chairs, china, brick, brown
Two Chairs

“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.

scissors, bowl, stool, country life
Shave and a Haircut…2 Bits

“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.

statues, idols, offering, devotion

“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.

Three Vessels

“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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93 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #246 – Still Life

  1. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #246 – Still Life – Scenic Linkz

  2. 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.

    • 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?!

  3. 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.

  4. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-246-Still-Life – WoollyMuses

  5. Dear Tina,
    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!

  6. 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.

      • 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.

  7. 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 😊

  8. 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.

  9. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #246 – Still Life… | MV Obsession

  10. 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!

  11. 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 👍👍

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. Pingback: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #246: Still Life – Calling-all-RushBabes

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Wow! What a marvellous set of Found still Lifes from around the world, Tina! Brilliantly photographed, as ever. Was ‘Days gone by’ from Oppède?

      • 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. 😀 😀

  23. 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.

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