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Posts tagged ‘still life’

Introductions: Marian Drew

For a while I have been thinking about showcasing today’s artist and I have decided it is now time. Her name is Marian Drew and she is an Australian Artist who uses photography as her medium. I was very privileged in 2008 to have an exhibition in the same gallery as her. It was really amazing and she was a lovely person. I am sure you are going to love her work.

Moreton-island-webThis was one of the pieces that Marian was showing during that show. It was a new direction for her, well I thought so as her previous work had been quite different.

This is the exhibition information that went with the work.


Illuminated Landscapes is an exhibition of photographs that graph the light trajectories of human scale and duration in the landscape.

Drawing and photography, meet in the open air, a sketch of the hand with the process of camera obscura, working in concert to explore landscape as an exchange between culturally constructed ideas and the apparatus of perception .

Using two identical medium format film cameras I photograph a landscape by moving the cameras on an axis following the horizon or visual conduit of the landscape.

This super slow motion pan, films the action or event over several still frames and allows enough time for the photographer to abandon the camera, enter the landscape and immerse oneself, often literally, in the landscape during exposure. When one is in the landscape acting in this way one cannot see the landscape as a panorama in the distance. The image is formed as part of an exchange that occurs within the landscape and within the camera.

To make these photographs the body acts like a thread that sews drawing/ to landscape /to film. The film is then scanned and images joined using digital processes and printed onto large sheets of archival paper. Although the length of the final prints is determined during post-production, the form is shaped by duration of exposure and interaction.

In making this work, I start to learn about the landscape through the use of my own body.

Marian Drew

I think she is known for other work however.

Marian bird-1.tif

Most people who know Marian’s work think of images like the one above. They are soft and sensitive. They are reminiscent of still life paintings from times gone. You are looking at birds and animals that are dead, like they were in the paintings. There is a video on how they were created and I will include a link to it.

Here is a description of the work from the gallery that represents her.

Marian Drew’s photographic work explores native fauna and its preservation. Known for her contemporary Australian interpretations of 16th century still lives, Marian Drew’s photographs are a classical homage to native wildlife. Concerned with the value of deceased creatures, her subjects are the result of road kill, poisoned waters, and destruction of habitual animal and bird pathways replaced by human interventions. Her work presents wildlife that is dislocated from the idealized view of animals in their natural environs. The long lens of the wildlife photographer is replaced by the close up lens, painted light and the tabletop.

The historical framework of the European still life, the familiar rituals of table preparation, combined with road-kill reveals a new relationship between our own urbanity and the cohabitating animal species. These animals are clearly sacrificed within the context of our everyday lives. Marian Drew hopes to draw attention to the value and beauty of these animals and acknowledge the relationship these animals have with ourselves and the environment in which we share.

Marian_Drew_04There is Marian working on a piece. Her work is very conceptual in nature and must take a lot of thought to create it. Not to mention scouring the roads for her subjects.

Here the video link on how she creates the work.

I would like to thank Marian for giving me permission to showcase her work here for you. You can see more of her work on her website, Marian Drew. You can also see more at the page for the gallery Dianne Tanzer Gallery.  I also have a gallery with more images, I hope you enjoy looking at her work.

Introductions: View from a French Hillside

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!

rose-garlic-knife-and-mortar-cropAnother 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.

Influencing Me: Imogen Cunningham

For this week I’ve been searching the internet for some early female photographers. Last time I showed one many of you said that you would like me to do this again.  So the search began. I looked at a few photographers, but then I saw one photo of a still life plant and that was it.

The photographer for today is Imogen Cunningham, she was born in 1883 and died in 1976, a wife and mother, yet could still do photography.  An inspiration to me and to all women I think.  I like it when women do have those restrictions of children and a home that they push through it and find a way to pursue their passion. Especially for her, well in the times that she was doing photography. I am sure you all get what I mean.

Platinum Palladium

Platinum Palladium

Simply stunning, if you ask me. It is so much like what I like doing. I got a macro lens so I could start doing this sort of photography. She did this when her children were small and she had to be home with them.  The compositions are really good, and I have to wonder if Robert Mapplethorpe was influenced by her work?

Frida Kahlo, Painter and Wife of Diego Rivera, 1931

Frida Kahlo, Painter and Wife of Diego Rivera, 1931

She has some great portraits of some very famous artists of the time. It is really amazing to see who she got to photograph, like Frida Kahlo, who is more famous for her self portraits which she painted. Imogen also photographed others and I have included a couple more that will be included in the gallery.

Martha Graham 2, 1931

Martha Graham 2, 1931

Many photographers get into trouble these days for combining images, it is considered cheating, or they are told the images are no longer photos, but here is a photo, yet it is either two images or a double exposure.  It was done in a darkroom, so it can’t be digital art, but according to the definitions that many people use, it isn’t a photo either. It is an interesting conundrum and I know there are many more like this.

BOT26Some of the images have an abstract quality to them that I really enjoy. I know they are flowers, but there is something quite interesting. Makes me want to get into the garden and see if I can do some similar abstract images.

I know that many of you are going to be looking at the gallery and thinking wow, wow, and get a great deal of inspiration from looking at her images. I have included some links below if you would like to go and find out more about her. I hope you enjoy her work.


Quiet Thursdays: Eating Cupcakes

Isn’t that what you do after you photograph them?

I’ve been out all day, going to new places and taking photos.  Both places I went to were fantastic and I am looking forward to looking at the photos, hopefully I got some good ones.

The other day I tried some new things with the macro lens.  Something that I might try doing more of, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed doing it.  So today, I thought I might share with you some of the photos I was taking.  I tried photographing some jewellery that I had, see how I would go photographing it.  Then I saw a website for cupcakes and thought how bad the photos were for the wonderful cakes they were making, and thought I could do better, so I got my daughter to get me some cupcakes for me to photograph.

Here is a gallery with some of the jewellery imgaes and the cupcakes.  We did eat them after the photos and they were very nice.

Quiet Thursday – Story Prompt

Today I have another photo as a prompt for you, well for those of you that want to write that is.  I went for something different and I hope it makes sense.


I tried to set up something to photograph.  I used to do this sort of thing all the time, but I’m not sure I am very good at it, but I don’t mind this.

So the prompt, this is different to what I usually do, in that this time, I have instructions.

This photo is the end of the story, and you have to write what lead to this.

As usual leave links to your stories and poems in the comments section for other people to enjoy.  If you missed the last one and didn’t get to read what others wrote, here is the link to that post, Quiet Thursday – Up in the Air.

Introductions – Benjamin Rowe @ Aperture64

Today’s introduction is someone that has been a tremendous help to me over time and has often given me advice about some thing, especially macro photography, or more how to do it without a macro lens.  His name is Benjamin Rowe and his blog is Aperture64 Photography.

flay-away-2When you go to his blog it isn’t surprising to see a lot of macro images on it.  He has a great way of getting them and doing them without a macro lens and, as I said, I have learned a lot from him. I really like the softness of them.

As usual, I asked Ben why he takes photos.

I believe in a way I take photos because I am not very good at writing creatively. For me photography is a way to communicate feelings, emotions and ideas that I can’t communicate in other ways.
The other reason I take photos is because I actually find it quite relaxing. I predominantly take landscapes and still life photos and spend a lot of time doing this solo with my music plugged in and concentrating on the subject. Being in the zone my imagination can take flight forming the composition and the eventual image. I am always amazed how much time has passed when I look at my watch as I feel hardly anytime has gone by when in fact maybe an hour or so has.
Another reason I take photos I feel is because I hold quite a negative self-image of myself and the things that I do. With photography I can share my work and see from the response something positive.

stairs-to-narniaThere is something about the details that I really enjoy in Ben’s work, there is a lot of it.  I have said over and over how it is something that I need to start making a conscious effort to do.  The macro and still life has helped with that a lot and I am trying to get more of that.

Inspiration was the next question.

I get my inspiration from books, magazines blogs, but mostly from walking around wherever I am and simply observing the world. I live in Łódź in Poland; a city that a famous Polish writer called “Beautifully ugly”, yet just taking the time to look I can see the beauty as well as interesting aspects of the city. Many say you have to live somewhere interesting to have great shots, but by stopping and looking around you can see interesting things all around you.

lady-bird-red-1This always says to me Polaroid Extension Tubes, sorry Ben, but it does.  When I was trying to work out how to do close up photography without a macro Ben sent me this image and told me how he had done it with, I think, a 50mm and the extension tubes from Polaroid, which then spurred me on to get some to try for myself.

I asked Ben if there was anything special about the way he works.

I generally pre-visualize how I want the shot to look before I press the shutter. For example I will see the scene in black and white or I want to do a certain post production technique.  I also use a few “Photography Hacks” as I am still building up my kit after taking a 3 year hiatus from being serious about photography a few years ago.  There are so many ways of creating great images without a lot of specialised equipment, just a little imagination and creativity will help you work around what you don’t have.

church-wilanow-black-and-whiteI know I have gone on a lot about the macro and close up work that Ben does, but I should remember to tell you that he does other things as well.  There are quite a few landscapes on his blog and he does to great shots of buildings, like the one above.

The final question, as usual, was about gear.

I have a lot of gear kicking around my man cave although I mainly use, Canon 60D, Canon G10, Mamiya 135 with Canon 50mm, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 18-135mm, Sigma 28-300mm lenses. I also have Polaroid Extension tubes, and lots of filters and Canon EX flashes.
I have plans this year to buy a light tent and another flash and lights.
I edit my work in Lightroom and Photoshop and I have the Topaz and Niksoft suite of plugins as well as Alien Skin Exposure.

I will do the gallery now.  I would like to thank Ben for giving me permission to showcase his work here.  I would also like to thank him for all the help he has given me when I needed it.  It has been great having people you know you can email when you some help.  So thank you Ben.  I would also like all of you to go and take a look at his blog, there is lots of usual information over there at Aperture64 Photography.  Please direct your comments to Ben for this, I like it when the person I introduce responds to the comments, thank you.

Introductions – Stephen G Hipperson

Stephen G Hipperson is a British based photographer and one that admire quite a bit.  I have been following him for a while and I always enjoy the images that he puts up.  There is something very British about them.  I don’t know how to explain it, but I like the colours and the subject matter.  He covers lots of aspects of that life, you see the old, the new and the country.  I am not quite sure how to explain it, maybe I should just try showing you what I mean.

barns_mg_6206When I see images like this, they always remind me of England, or the UK.  Mind you I have never been there, but it is what I think the British countryside would look like.  There is not any one image, but when they are put together it is how I imagine the UK would be like.

I did ask Stephen why he takes photos and the response from him was one I hadn’t had before.

I am passionate about the photographic process. Look. See. Frame. Pick the moment. Fire the shutter.  For example, in my photography, the act of seeing is about getting out there to explore my local countryside and buildings; it’s researching before I go and researching when I return.  Seeing is about assessing and understanding what’s there and looking for subjects pertinent to my purpose. Framing is about getting into the place that will give me the best picture.  Picking the moment, e.g. when clouds are moving across the sky it can have so much impact on how the light works.  Fire the shutter – the decision point.  What isn’t there to be passionate about – I would engage in photography all the time if I could.

South AisleA sense of history and time is something that I am always attracted to.  With my own country only being just over two hundred years old, in terms of British colonisation, it is hard for Australians to get our heads around buildings that are centuries old.  So the above building is steeped in history, and look at how it was made.  I love the ceilings in them.

The next question was about inspiration.

In the first instance, I have always been inspired by light and the lack of it – the way the substance of a thing can be changed, the mystery in the shadows, etc.

I am inspired by the work of others – photographic or not – I’m not going to single anyone out.  My mind often goes off on its own when I see a particularly novel idea – like a seed that bursts into life.   I would encourage everyone to read, look at paintings, photographs, sculpture, architecture, craftwork of all sorts – input, input, input.

I am inspired by the past – after all, photography is about imaging the past – once the shutter is pressed the moment has gone.  Of course, once that image is captured, we then bring our memory and imagination into play when we produce the image we want to present.

bowbuilding_mg_6117Then there is the new on his blog as well.  I can see that he photographs what is around him, and that doesn’t exclude new modern architecture and the continual growth of what is happening in Britain right now.  It really makes sense that a country that has existed for hundreds of years would be continuing to grow.

I did ask Stephen if there was anything special about the way he works.

No, I don’t think there is anything special about the way I work – except that when I am doing my thing, that’s all I do, I very much like to ‘zone out’, concentrate or let my mind wander.  Sometimes, when I’m doing my work with churches, I will just sit in one of the pews and assess how the light is falling and how it might change, or look for particular architectural features I want to capture, etc.?  And I nearly always use a tripod because of the length of shutter speeds I tend to use. But I don’t think it’s any different to how others work.

jugcandle_mg_5580Sometimes it is there in the details as well.  I do like the way he has captured the details as well.  You all know that this is something I really want to do more of.  I like the way the details look like still life images.  I must start looking for that sort of thing too.

As most of us are photographers, we always want to know what gear we all use, so I asked Stephen.

My main tool is my dslr which is a Canon 30D with a suite of lenses consisting of 17-40mm f/4, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS and a 300mm f/4 IS – I believe all have now been superseded in Canon’s catalogue. As it happens, all 4 lenses share the same filter size, which makes it convenient for filters.

I also use a Canon EOS 30 film camera, which my Canon lenses fit. For medium format I use a Rollei SL66 with just the standard 80mm f2.8 lens, and a couple of old folders.

I have an old Manfrotto tripod with screw fitting leg adjustment fitted with an old 029 three way head – (yes, the legs do suffer that sinking feeling if I don’t do the catches up and the head has almost drawn blood on more than one occasion, it takes no prisoners).

crocusp1110518I am not going to lie, I was surprised with this image, very pleasantly, but it was so different to everything else Stephen has on his blog.  The colour is so different and it stands out so much.  It is a stunning image, but not the usual greens, grays and browns that I associate with his work.  I do like the detail in it.

I am going to put the rest of the images in a gallery now.  I would encourage to go and visit Stephen on his blog, “Stephen G Hipperson My photography and other stuff”.  I was having a hard time not picking every image, and I am sure you will find it a feast for your eyes.  Again, please go and take a look, if you like it then follow, but it isn’t a requirement, it would be great if you can just visit. I would like to thank Stephen for allowing me to show you his work here on my blog.


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