Still life photography is a great way to study light, color, and, composition—all building blocks for for quality photography, and many other art forms, for that matter. There must be something to the technique, since some of the world’s most revered artists have practiced it (such as da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, even Picasso).
The still life is a genre that has endured over many centuries, from ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and Mediterranean mosaics, to Rennaissance and Impressionist oil paintings, to high-tech digital photography. Today, we have a photo that pays tribute to the to history of the genre while making effective use of light, color, and composition:
Fruit, food, flowers, and other everyday objects have been common subjects for still life art since its origins, and our featured photo is no exception. It even has a somewhat painterly look with all its texture and dramatic highlights and shadows. But let’s take a look at those three basic elements and how they’re used here:
Light: The natural, angled light casts deep, long shadows and creates bright highlights that set off the red tones of the pomegranate. The quality of the light (and the contrast of light and shadow) gives the picture depth and creates shape.
Color: Having neutral colors in the foreground and background make the subject really pop. The way the light hits those semi-transparent red seeds makes them almost look 3D, like you could reach out and touch them.
Composition: The position of the pomegranate itself is close to a third of the way down from the top edge of the photo (conforming to the classic “rule of thirds”). The sharp, slanted shadow cast by the pomegranate and the scattering of the seeds also create diagonal lines, which make for a dynamic composition that allows your eyes to travel across the photo.
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