Our 20th collaboration! Richard G chose the theme and set the restriction “Give way to your worst impulse”. Enjoy!
Richard Guest: Still Life, 2013
For this collaboration I wanted to do something we hadn’t done for a while – a traditional subject. To keep it fresh, I added a restriction. The following statement had to inform the work: “Give way to your worst impulse”. I have wanted to use Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies cards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_Strategies) for some time and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
My worst impulse when approaching a brief is to over-think it – it’s a symptom of a malaise I caught at art college (I suffered terribly with conceptualism for many years). Most of the time when I see it coming I lie down in a darkened room with a cold compress on my head, but not this time. I approached the brief with the clear intention of presenting something which was technically a still life, but did not look like one. I was emboldened in this by Jennifer’s (http://giddysap.wordpress.com/) works with suspended objects as part of her photographic still lifes. Thanks, Jennifer!
Still Life is also the name of a rather fabulous song by Van der Graaf Generator – you can listen to it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYBifGynf6g).
Richard Cooper-Knight: Still Life, 2013
Oddly, rather than constraining me, Richard’s restriction drove home the shot I needed to take. The title ‘Still Life’ immediately brought to mind those countless Victorian paintings of fruit and vases. I’ve mentioned before about finding stages shots a bit false, so having to give way to my worst impulse only told me that that was exactly the route I needed to take.
Thankfully being on a bit of a health kick at the moment proved a bonus, as we have a lot of fruit in the house. It was not too difficult to pull the shot together, therefore, and, throw in my late grandmother’s brass jug and a small Roman statuette and it was there. Or so I thought…
The lighting proved the difficult bit. With the curtains open, there was too much of a glare (and frenetic ‘Daddy’s here’ activity from my three chickens), but with it drawn it was too dark and the light was more orange. It took about 30 shots to get it right (moving curtains, torch, ISO, f-stop, reflectors and exposure), but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. (Oddly, the bit I like best is the reflection of the fruit in the neck of the jug, but picking up on the small things is not unusual for me!)