My husband came home the other day with a sack full of persimmons and pomegranates. They were a gift. I am not very familiar with this type of fruit, but the shape, color and texture of the fruit was appealing. I didn’t want to eat the fruit. I wanted to photograph it.
Note: I am not a professional photographer. I am sure that any professional photographer would probably shake their head at my process. But it works for me when I want reference material for painting.
So, I will continue. I decided to set up a simple still life. My husband has a beautiful antique radio that I chose as the surface the still life would sit on. I gathered up an old white dishtowel, the fruit, my camera and tripod. At first I thought I would use natural light. I placed the dishtowel on the wood surface and lined up three pomegranates. I took several shots changing the light settings and playing around with how much of the radio I wanted to show.
As I viewed the pictures I had taken I realized I needed some light to make cast shadows to create interest and to make the fruit look three dimensional. So, I grabbed a light out of my art room and set it off to the side. As I took photographs things started to evolve. Each time I found a shot I liked I took at least three pictures using different light settings. I had the ISO set to 200 and then later changed it to 400 as I continued.
I replaced the pomegranates with the persimmons. I kept taking pictures but could tell that I wasn’t getting what I wanted. For one thing I was including too much of the radio in the pictures. So, I started focusing closer in on the fruit. As I looked closer I noticed a reflection of the fruit on the wooden surface of the radio.
I wanted to take advantage of that, so I moved the dishtowel further back to show off the reflection. I placed some of the fruit on the wood instead of on the dishtowel. But the still life needed something else. So I combined the two types of fruit. That was more interesting, but something was still missing.
I decided I needed to open up one of the pomegranates. So, I did. The fleshy seeds looked incredibly appealing in the light. I knew I was on the right track. I started focusing on the inside of the fruit. I got so in to the moment that I lost all track of time. I took shot after shot with hopes that something good would come out of the process.
I guess you could say I was involved in the evolution of a still life. When I started playing with the subject and really perceiving the fruit the composition of the still life got better. My photographs went from contrived and stiff to up close and yummy. (I know that is a great photography term!)
Anyway, I thought that some of you might like to see my creative process when it comes to photographing a subject for reference material. I am including an assortment of my photographs so you can see exactly what I am talking about. I hope this has been informative. I am numbering the pictures so you can let me know which ones you like. Just write me a comment with the number.
Remember: If you get a sack of fruit and don’t know what to do with it, you can always use it for a still life. Have a great day!