Today’s Introduction is new to me, but as soon as she was recommended to me I knew I had to introduce her to you. Her name is Jane Morley and is the person behind the blog View from a French Hillside. What a blog, I love still life photography and I think hers has so many great examples of it. It is also French and I think you will agree with me that a lot of the work has a definite French style to them.
Her work as a softness that goes with the composition and they remind me of beautiful old masters paintings. How many of us search for the perfect flowers to photograph when one falling apart could also be beautiful in its deconstruction.
I asked Jane where in the world she was.
I live on top of a beautiful hill in South Western France, surrounded by fields and vineyards.
What we expect the French countryside to be like. It is beautiful with the colours of what looks like dew and mist. Hay bales left on the ground, it is reminiscent of paintings by Monet.
My next questions were about how long she had been taking photos for and why.
I started taking photos 5 years ago when we were asked to host the local theatre company’s summer spectacular. I thought it might be fun to take pictures at the rehearsals and I’d just bought a little camera. I loved it so much I’ve been taking pictures ever since. I still love portraiture but there is so much that’s beautiful in the world around us here and the more I look, the more I see, I think that’s the wonder of photography for me, my world just keeps getting richer!
I’m quite envious of work like this. It is something I would like to do, but I know I’m not very good at it. I can never seem to get the story right or the lighting. This work really inspires me, maybe I will try doing something with all the tea sets I have.
I asked Jane about her inspiration.
My inspiration comes firstly from painters. I’ve been an art lover all my life and one of my favourite painters is Caravaggio and his extraordinary work with light. I’m always drawn to images which convey mood, atmosphere or drama, and I suppose I take the kind of pictures that I would paint if I were a painter. I’m also inspired by the beauty to be found in the ordinary, everyday things around us. I believe everything has it’s own beauty if you look hard enough.
Trying to work out which image to choose is hard, I love them all and yet each is different in a unique way and I’m sure when you see them together you will feel the same way. The idea of baking, a French pastry perhaps, I don’t know, but images start coming to my head about what is about to happen.
Is there any special about the way you work was also asked.
Because my photos tend to be of small everyday things and details I don’t have to travel far to find subjects so a lot of my images are taken in my favourite corner of a courtyard space we have here. I only ever use natural light and the sidelight that comes in from the south in this spot is just perfect!
Another great still life, all things that most of us have in our homes. The light, again, is just stunning. I am inspired after reading about how she works. I also like the colours, they aren’t really strong, there is a kind of antiqueness to them, if that makes any sense.
My final question, as always was about gear.
My gear is fairly simple really, I use my trusty Nikon D90 which I bought 4 years ago with it’s kit lens and a 40mm prime lens which I always use for my still life photos. I don’t have any filters and I only use natural light so I don’t have any lighting equipment. I do use an excellent Cullman monopod – it came with a tripod but I rarely use the other bits, the monopod is more portable and practical. I also recently bought a little Sony RX100 so that I could always have a camera in my pocket, the image quality is amazing!
I would like to thank Jane for giving me permission to feature her work on my blog and to introduce you to her. I know many of you will go and visit her blog View from a French Hillside. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
I have a gallery now for you of a selection of her work. They are the images that I loved, though I could take them all, and if you want to see more take a look at her blog.