Inspiration – a post about photography

Willem Claesz Heda, Banquet Piece with Mince Pie, 1635

The admirable Lara of Cook and Eat and Still Life with… does also administer a Flickr group that every month has a food photography theme and every month I think that I will participate and every month I fail to do so, it’s like this month too but this time it’s not my fault, it’s just that I can’t follow the theme. Which is my fault really but Lara wants photos where you somehow show by the influence from other photographers and food stylists and I have realized that I’m not consciously inspired that much by other food photographers. That may sound pretentious but it’s really not, it’s just that I’m more inspired by painted still lifes (or is it still lives??) or maybe I should say, the light that you see in them. And now I really sound arty farty and pretentious but then let it be like that, this is the way it is. I’m not an art historian so I can’t really pretend to know that much about this subject but the great thing about art is that you can appreciate it without knowing anything about it. Think about Dutch painting of the 16th and the 17th century, all these lavishly laid out tables where light and shadow almost is more important than the actual objects on them. When I look in food magazines I often find the photos a bit boring because there’s too much light in them, the play between light and shadow is completely obliterated by a bright and go easy approach that I personally easily tire of. I like the nuances that the shadow creates, darkness is just as much part of life as is light and I think there’s a great beauty in the darker parts, especially when they are contrasted with light. Life is not only what we live, it’s all over the place, it’s out there in the universe and don’t deny that you find the dark holes out there very very interesting. Difficult to grasp but enticing. Just like in art, paintings and photos alike.

Take a look at the pictures of these links and look at how the light and the shadows are treated:
Here I especially like the picture of the two pears on the very top of the screen with the light shooting in from the left.
And this artist doesn’t care a fig about the white balance and I find that very beautiful, when the light is blue you get such interesting transparent shades and nuances.
And this could almost have been painted in my kitchen doorway!
Or Caravaggio’s famous fruit basket, despite the flood of light he manages to use it in such a clever way, never forgetting the importance of the shadow.
There are so many still lifes to be looked at, I suggest you to google on the word and then go to images and just look and look.
But let us not forget our fellow blogger Carol of Paris Breakfasts, the light in her watercolours delight me every time I look at them!

Pieter Claesz, Fruit Still Life with Basket of Cheese