Raid the aisles for a clas­si­cal still life

Practical Photography (UK) - - Fine Arts At Home -

STILL LIFE DRAW­ING IS one of the foun­da­tions of clas­si­cal art, and its his­tory can be traced back to the very ear­li­est days of fine art. It has en­dured through all of the up­heavals in the art world, chang­ing in style and mode as the artis­tic land­scape shifted. But if there was one pe­riod in which the still life was king, it was Baroque, a high­ly­or­nate and ex­trav­a­gant move­ment that flour­ished in Europe from the early 17th to the mid-18th cen­tury.

Light and sym­bol­ism

The Baroque move­ment in art co­in­cided with a Catholic re­vival in Europe and, as such, it’s a style that echoes some of the re­li­gious iconog­ra­phy from an­tiq­uity. But Baroque also rev­els in an earthy, ro­man­tic look, full of warm tones, deep shad­ows and clever sym­bol­ism.

Still life pho­tog­ra­phy lends it­self per­fectly to the win­ter months, when the weather can make it dif­fi­cult to get out and about, and recre­at­ing your own Baroque mas­ter­piece can be eas­ily achieved in the sim­plest of home stu­dios.

In­deed, with con­trol of light­ing be­ing key to recre­at­ing a style of paint­ing that’s de­fined by pools of light float­ing in an ocean of dark­ness, shoot­ing at night, in a blacked-out room, pro­vides the ideal con­di­tions for a clas­si­cal re­vival.

Study the source ma­te­rial from this pe­riod and you will see that it’s def­i­nitely a case of ‘more is more’, with lay­ers of de­tail that only re­veal them­selves af­ter time spent look­ing. Sym­bol­ism abounds – the fig, al­le­goric of fe­male fer­til­ity – is a pop­u­lar mo­tif and one that we made use of in our recre­ation. Raid the aisles of your lo­cal su­per­mar­ket for un­usual pro­duce and pile it high. Then cre­ate a lit­tle fine art magic with the sim­plest of light­ing ef­fects…

Above Study the source ma­te­rial for inspiration be­fore set­ting up your shoot.

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