what it is

still life

still life

Is this photo confusing?

Certainly, it doesn’t seem that way to me. It’s a moody still life — a moldering apple, a little sprig of raspberries, a green leaf, and a dried up reddish flower. They’re seen from a low angle in dim light, although with nice highlights — overall it is nicely lit. The focus is a small plane centered a little right and above the center of the apple; so most of the photo is varying amounts of bokeh. Behind, the background is an indistinct bluish gray. The objects are sitting on a reflective surface, which adds some reflective underlighting and emphasizes the sheen of the photo.

Aesthetically, it’s kind of in the style of an old Dutch still life from the early 18th century. Perhaps there’s a touch of mannerism in the moody light and the overripeness of the objects.

At the same time, it aims to undercut normative expectations for such a scene.The decaying items are treated as if they were in the prime of their ripeness, with rich light and a classical sort of arrangement. There is an overall sheen that works to counteract all the decay of the objects presented; especially the glowing light of the lower left corner, which gives the photo a hyperreality not usually found in a work depicting decaying objects.

It is purposely unsettling. In subtle ways.

So why is it so hard for others to understand?


About Ron Wiecki

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