PHOTOGRAPHING STILL-LIFE IMAGES
MACRO AND CLOSE-UP PHOTOGRAPHY
Still-life photographs depict small, inanimate objects, typically on a tabletop, carefully arranged to achieve a composition that is aesthetically pleasing, symbolic, or both (see 10-1). Perhaps even more so than in portraits, landscapes, or other photographic genres, composition is critical in still-life photography; indeed, in many cases, composition is what a still-life photograph is about. That is, the very message of the image relates both to the choice of objects depicted and to how those objects are arranged.
For example, in 10-1, I wanted to showcase the tapestry, a reproduction of a famous Italian fresco. I added the lilies, as a friend had many blooming in her garden at the time. I bought the slab of granite for a table top, used a piece of fabric to give it a classic look, and created a yellow shaft of light for additional compositional interest. I wanted the viewer's eye to move from the yellow light to the horse to the flowers. The horizontal line of granite was meant to stabilize, or anchor, the bottom of the image so the viewer's eye wouldn't move out of the frame. The other colored flowers were purposely placed to add secondary interest and keep the viewer's eye moving around, processing all the details.
Fortunately, still-life photographs also offer the most flexibility with regard to composition. With portraits, you can adjust the manner in which your subject ...