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    Still Life Photography

As the term "still life" implies, the subject and its environment are stationary. It is normally performed in a studio setting where the space and the lighting are controlled by the photographer. Because still life subjects are usually arranged on an elevated stand or table, this genre is sometimes called "table top photography". On occasion it may include macrophotography where the objective is make extreme close-ups of the subject, often magnified so that the result appears abstract.

While still life photography is practiced by professional photographers who are engaged in the production of commercial ads or creating catalog illustrations, it is also the province of photographers who employ these techniques to produce fine art images.

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Red Rose in a Blue VAse

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© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Red Rose in a Blue Vase
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Ilford HP5 Plus film                                             Silver Print


There are many small objects to choose from that will make excellent subject matter for a fine art, still life prints. Flowers and floral arrangements make excellent subjects. With studio lighting they show wonderful shading and texture as monochrome images. They also stand out well as color prints. This WEB page features flowers composed in the table top environment.


© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Roses and Daisies

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Roses and Daisies
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Tmax 400 film                                           Silver Print



© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Lily Buds

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Lily Buds
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Ilford HP5 Plus film                                               Silver Print


The use of color film changes the emotional impact of still life images, especially for the flowers. Whereas shading and texture, influenced by the lighting, was used to create the images above, now color becomes the dominant performer. Not that shading and texture are eliminated from these photos. They still exist and they remain important. But now color becomes the central component to determine the mood of the image.

Compare the monochrome image of the rose to the color image below.

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- One Red Rose

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- One Red Rose
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Portra 160VC film                  Chromogenic Color Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- African Mask

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- African Mask
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak TMAX 400 film                                               Silver Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Elephant's March

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Elephant's March
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak TMAX 400 film                                               Silver Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Stuffed Turtle

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Stuffed Turtle
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak TMAX 400 film                                               Silver Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Navigating the Chesapeake

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Navigating the Chesapeake
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak TMAX 400 film                                               Silver Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Burnt Candle 2003

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Burnt Candle 2003
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Ilford HP5 Plus film                                               Silver Print



       © 2007 A. C. Olson -- Clarinet Concerto

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Clarinet Concerto
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Ilford HP5 Plus film                                                     Silver Print
Print Pricing


Please click on image for larger view.

All of the work photographed for this Still Life Project has been exposed on 4x5 sheet film. The 4x5 view camera is an ideal tool for close-up photography. Its bellows can be extended to double the focal length of a normal lens so that the subject can be imaged at 1:1 full scale. The front lensboard of a view camera may also be tilted to extend the plane of focus so that it is nearly parallel to the table surface. This technique was used on Clarinet Concerto to maintain focus over the entire scope of the sheet music.


© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Mums

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Mums
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Tmax 400 film                                               Silver Print



© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Rubrum Lily

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Rubrum Lily
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Fuji Neopan 100 Acros film                                     Silver Print


The flowers below were photographed on a film known as Polaroid Type 55. This was film that not only produced a large sized positive print, but it also created a 4x5 negative that is usable for producing darkroom enlargements. The image below, however, was scanned from the the positive hardcopy of the Polaroid print. Enlarged silver prints, though, are available from theses Polaroid negatives.

Unfortunately, instant films are no longer available from Polaroid. Digital images have displaced Polaroid prints for immediate gratification. Fuji, however, is still producing instant film packs, but they do not have a film that also produces a negative.

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Polaroid Floral

© 2007 A. C. Olson -- Polaroid Floral
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Scanned from Polaroid Print                                  Silver Print

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Upcoming show May 7 through June 30, 2010

Life Stills

Featuring:
  • Charles Grogg
  • Al Olson
  • Bob Francis
  • Suzi McGregor

Open Shutter Contemporary Fine Art Photography
735 Main Avenue
Durango, Colorado 81301
970.382.8355

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© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Bouquet 04

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Bouquet 04
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Portra 160VC film                 Chromogenic Color Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Bouquet 05

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Bouquet 05
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Portra 160VC film                 Chromogenic Color Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Pepper Fine Dining 2003

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Pepper Fine Dining 2003
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Portra 160VC film                 Chromogenic Color Print


© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Starfish

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Starfish
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Portra 160VC film                 Chromogenic Color Print



© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Burnt Candle 2003

© 2010 A. C. Olson -- Burnt Candle 2003
Linhof Color 4x5 format, Schneider 135mm lens
Kodak Portra 160VC film                 Chromogenic Color Print