I present a selection of still-life photographs for fine art lovers. The items which were used became the main creative subject, and, in the end, they determined the subject matter. These immovables carry the weight of the “creation of life” with their hidden religious innuendo, parable, sociocultural or spiritual connotation. These are likened to specific concepts hidden amongst many paintings of the 17th century. Being inspired by the “art of painting for still objects”, I considered aesthetic shapes, colours, and symbolism when selecting the project content.
As discussed earlier, in ancient art, there were many intricate meanings or implications between flowers, food, and other primary subjects. This may have been the only reason a person might commit to purchase an early work of art. Later, the urge of the bourgeoisie to buy a work of art created new markets. This was the beginning of the first art market in the modern sense of the words.
The affluent middle classes showed off their wealth by adding works of art, especially collecting stills life painting, to their collections. It was an excellent way to stand out within their communities by displaying taste and demonstrating assumptive wealth to their peers. This is why today stills often have a high commercial value. A merchant can easily be tempted to buy a painting with immovable objects related to their trade. For example, a trader who imports grapes from Spain may prefer a still or painting with grapes.
There are examples in artworks that show the traditional values of the age. A decisive contribution to these values is conveyed within still objects. The central theme of 16th-century Memento Mori style of stills painting is “Remember you are dying.” Therefore, the artwork reminds the viewer to focus on the spiritual side of life, not to indulge in materialism, greed, and pleasure.
My attention was drawn to the inception of art that existed for centuries concerning photography projects and photographic techniques. I attended a photo exhibition in February 2013 at the Science and Media Museum in London; the theme was “Art of arrangement photography and still life”. The exhibition showcased the world’s first photographers’ adaptation of symbolic still objects to the art of painting. William Henry Fox Talbot in 1840 exhibited photographs from the Solar Microscope’ Insect Wings’ to Frederick G.Titton’ Dessert’ in 1923. The Memento Mori style of painting can be seen in those photos.
The first name that comes to my mind when focusing on any still photography project is Edward Watson. Photographs of his immovable objects that caught my eye throughout my study demonstrably expanded my thinking. I feel that these influences are decisively directing the future of my photography in a completely new direction. Just as light, darkness and shapes give life to the objects in Watson’s photographs, I think those photographs brought out something hidden within my soul. His “Bell Pepper no 30” photo made a positive and creative impact on my photography. The colourful darkness that transmitted through it, the moving stillness and the pleasantness of solitude changed the way I look at still objects.