Been staying' home ...

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by samstevens, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. brown-rice-04-2020_4053-2-ww-keybl.jpg
    - still life with brown rice and reflection -
  2. I'm getting started on a project to do some still lifes around the house while staying at home. This is the first I've done that rings a chord with me, and I'm hoping to advance from here. What I like about it is the more extraordinary feel to a simple moment that lighting provided. I recognize that this photo relies in great part on that extraordinariness. Where I want to head, in hopes of offsetting this, is also to embrace a simplicity that's more subtle and harder to photograph, maybe more bare bones and less adorned by the 'special'. So, I think I'm also looking for a more economical vision. Curious to hear any thoughts you might have.
    inoneeye likes this.
  3. good start. good photo title.
    I like where you're going. still lifes are a great meter for revealing talent and finding your voice. Sudek, Kertesz, Weston, Man Ray, Grover... so many really great distinctive stand outs.
    No still life forum on pn is a loss.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  4. I like the concept, but it feels like I'm more busy than ever, particularly at home (and working from home). I have to get away to do any thoughtful photography, hence the multiple trips to the MBR. Looking forward to your results.
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    My first reaction was - 'light at the end of the tunnel'. Whether intentional by the Artist, or not, it doesn't matter - that's what I saw and that's what resonated.

    I like the inclusion of the duck/chicken? which is looking on, that adds another layer.

    I also like where the project is going.

  6. Discovering potential can be (almost) as exciting as landing on a winner.
    Yes. There's a good reason why still life has such a long and loved tradition.
    I agree.
    It's interesting to learn what a viewer sees in a photo. While I might go into a photo with a particular bent, I rarely expect that to translate verbatim to others. The transformation of what we input to what viewers perceive is fascinating and I can sometimes learn as much about my photos from different reactions as I do from my own assessment and interpretation.
    All things told, an eminently reasonable and relatable understanding, and not one I would have thought of on my own.
  7. I know the others. Is THIS who you're referring to?
  8. Yes. Sorry fo not using her full name before. I didn't realize that she would be buried so deeply in a google search as phootographer Grover. BUT as still life photographer Grover !!
    Jan Grover was who came to mind when I saw your photo. A resemblance, a possible inspiration and an interesting difference.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    samstevens likes this.
  9. My bad. Groover! does make the search easier.
  10. I react to this as an unusual event that happened to you and you thought, "I gotta get this" and then you thought, "That turned out nice, I should share it." I'm relying on your commentary a bit, but I thought that it would be very hard to set this up on purpose, as in setting a still life. Instead, I think that you saw something special and used your photography skills to capture and share it. My reaction is that it was worth sharing, because it's unusual and well captured, but I have trouble reading anything additional into it.
  11. The pot seems to be the source of all the action in the scene. Dramatic light reminds me (and I suspect, many others) of creation, as reminiscent of all the renaissance paintings with Jesus and God and light emanating and diverging from beneath. However, the analogy ends here as instead of Jesus, we have a pot. Perhaps a post modern response to such grand narratives?

    I also notice a pair of lanky legs (in a dance move) within the oval of light (like the spotlight shadows on a stage), perhaps drawing a reference to the rock and pop culture of the 70s.

    My only criticism (for the sake of criticism) is that, although the scene is very well composed and aesthetically enjoyable, there is no lingering question or mystery that the viewers can take with them. There is a degree of expectedness, which is never broken by any unexpected element in the scene that triggers the ‘why’s and the ‘what’s. At the end, this is a pleasant surprise out of an otherwise ordinary afternoon at home, indicative of the transient treasures we often miss around us.
  12. The way I relate to these astute observations is about style and voice. I think of still life as a genre of its own and in many ways different from other genres of art and photography. My favorite still lifes are the most personal ones, the ones that seem internal. Where a street photo can certainly be internal, it also takes the stage very much into account. I think what is happening in a still life is less important than how it happens. What's happening in a street photo is most often every bit as important as how it's shown.

    So, still lifes, for me, present a unique challenge to somehow make the object(s), composition, perspective, and light interact with a style and a voice. When I'm looking at one of Cezanne's or Weston's, I feel invited into a very personal space, not necessarily a mystery or an interpretive depth as much as a clarity of vision, an intimate relationship to the medium they've chosen, and a distillation of personality.

    In any case, that's what I'm starting to search for.
    dcstep likes this.
  13. I appreciate what you are saying. Perhaps a series of works showing different objects or viewpoints and their interaction with light will inform the viewer better about a specific voice and style. When I saw Grover’s works linked by you, seeing several of his pictures helped to form a better impression of his style than seeing any one of the images. I will look forward to your future images as well, but you have a great start.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  14. I see very interesting composition, by looking from the distance, where static kitchen item, saucepan, creates an image of the oval light bulb by reflecting the light.
  15. Yes, I do think a grouping of still lifes, and approaching it more as a project than a single still, is the way forward for me.
    Thanks, Pavel. Interesting to hear what image is conjured for you.
  16. This was the one, the visual side of response to the image. It was too late yesterday night to reflect and convey the possible meaning of visual impression.
    I'll voice the one of the possible interpretations.
    The sauce pain and rice may symbolize the source of food (material or "spiritual) that transforms to the light, creative energy or ideas represented by reflection.
    p.s. I hope this does not sound too cheese.
    dcstep likes this.
  17. LOL. Cheese is in the eye of the beholder! :)

  18. I like this, and like the way that you (seemingly- not knowing if this was a set-up or something "found") captured this moment in what I'll assume is your kitchen. The light is great and of course- that reflection! The title, Still Life, with Brown Rice And Reflection, adds some depth in this case, as eating can be so contemplative and to take this a step further, brown rice is earthy and also complex and just the thought of contemplating a state of being while munching on some brown rice takes me personally back to simpler times during which I made a specific effort to eat with more intent & purpose. So I was immediately brought straight into a personal, inner space where I enjoy happy memories -simply because of this title- unusual because more often than not, a title takes me away from wherever I might have gone on my own from viewing an image.

    Furthermore, for us to take a more contemplative look at our homes and personal spaces takes more than just a casual effort. It would have been so easy to sail right past this scene, in the hustle and. bustle that takes place during dinner prep. One really has to step almost outside of themselves to "see" things we live with every moment of every day, in "another light", as it were. Here, you have literally seen another light and captured it well. If this lovely reflection was made by the passage of the setting sun, you likely had only a few moments or even seconds to "see" this, and "get" the shot. You've managed, quite well, to pull some "extraordinariness" out of the ordinary here!
    To quote a friend, "Nice shootin', Tex"!

    Best luck on your continued personal journey of capturing your own spaces, and in finding new frontiers within and without.

    Supriyo likes this.
  19. Well, lol, naturally it was set up to the extent I was doing the cooking ... but found to the extent that when the reflection appeared, the pot was sitting as it was and I just found an angle I wanted to shoot from. After I took the shot, I turned the pot handle to see how that would affect the shadow inside the reflection, but no other position felt as good as the shot already taken.
    Titles are something I’ve been having fun with lately, so thanks for the comment on it.
    With all this staying home, I’m finding cooking, prep work and even washing dishes contemplative as well.
    It’s actually sunrise. Strange time to make rice, I know, but I often do a few days’ cooking in one day and like to get an early start. Yes, it lasted about 5 minutes. Now, a few weeks later, the sun’s at a different angle and training its rays differently, so I’m looking for other opportunities. I’m also setting up some things but nothing of note yet.
    As a 66-year-old gay guy who’s originally from NY and lives in Northern California, this makes my day as much as your thoughtful and genuine reaction to the photo. Now let me just strut on over to my morning smoothie! :)
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  20. Sam, you're busy making my day over here too!

    You've just conjured a completely awesome vision of a John Waters-ish character, in - as I heard Mr Waters tell it once in a radio interview with Terry Gross-
    a bright yellow cowboy outfit like the one he would wear to school as a kid. I see short shorts with boots as well and let's add a pair of chaps to complete the scenario. OF course, no such vision would be complete without a soundtrack so here's some Riders In The Sky for ya.

    Git along now, little dogie.

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020

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