I haven't ever experimented with studio still life photographs. I prefer to find my nature morte out in the landscape. I jokingly told a friend that when I am too old to travel I'll start my studio still life series! Since I work exclusively with natural light this will require me to learn lighting. I'm not sure if Weston used artificial lighting on his pepper or not but my studio in Maine has a lot of natural light so perhaps I can dispense with the artificial light and rely on reflectors and slow shutter speeds.
Weston was making a reference to the human body with his pepper photograph and I think, as a contemplative photographer, still life photography presents a kind of dilemma. If we stage the photograph we must have a notion of what it is we are trying to communicate through the image before hand. There is a bit of artificiality about it. That's something each photographer must work out for themselves.
This is still, after 8 years, one of my favorite still life images. The Dresser, made on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. It speaks so clearly to the culture of the island people and I've described it as an domestic altar to the sanctity of belonging.
Still life is a fascinating subject matter for the contemplative photographer no matter how you approach it whether through staged studio set ups or through objects you find along the way. One of my favorite venues for still life is old grave yards...it can't get much more still than that!
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