Sea Blue Lens

On Being Still


I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking a class from Kim Klassen called Be Still – Fifty-two. We’re just past the halfway point, and this is sort of a catch-up post. I’ve been doing the lesson each week, but for various reasons, haven’t gotten around to publishing my results.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also mentioned before that still life is not a genre with which I feel comfortable. Doing setups for these lessons and “styling” a photograph is hard for me, and when I see the beautiful work done by other students, I feel that mine isn’t quite “right.” So I hesitate to put it out there.

OK, so that’s silly. First, it’s not a competition. Second, Kim encourages us to find and follow our own style, so there is no “right” that I should be worried about. And third, no one has ever been anything but kind and supportive about my photography. Therefore, after giving myself a good talking-to, I’ve just finished posting my “homework” for the past month or so to the class’s Flickr group, and thought I’d share a few of those images here.

White Pitcher Red AppleWhite Pitcher

Assignment: Create a photo inspired by a still life painting. My inspiration was a painting called White Vase by Neil Carroll. This was the first time I’ve tried photographing against a dark background like this.

DSC_7498Pear on Plate

Assignment: A composition using only two objects, such as a pear and a bowl.


Another take on the Two Objects challenge. As you can see, I’m rather captivated by that dark background effect.

Butter & Eggs Cooking for One

Assignment: A still life with butter and eggs. This one was fun. I’ve had that book for a long time, hoping for an opportunity to use it as a photo prop. And my daughter and I had to go antiquing to find the perfect butter dish, especially for this assignment.

Strong teaStrong Tea

Assignment: Square format, looking down, with two sides of the frame left open. This was  taken with my iPhone and processed with Laminar Pro.

And that brings me up to date, just in time for the lesson that arrived today!

Now, if I can just keep it up going forward . . . .


17 thoughts on “On Being Still

  1. Oh, these are all just beautiful! You certainly took to the very dark background…it looks like a painting, as does the dark pear! Love each one!

  2. I really like all of your images.. and you have reminded me that I still need a butter dish. Yours is very nice…

  3. I love them all. I agree with Beverly, they look like paintings -great job!

  4. I like looking at your compositions. And – that butter dish is so pretty.

  5. I think your photos are gorgeous! The dark teapot is a nice complement to the pear. How fun to go out in search of the perfect butter dish!

  6. These are gorgeous. I especially love the dark background. Beautifully done.

  7. Great photos. Did you do the Hardanger embroidery?

  8. Beautiful . . . and this gives me some inspiration too . . .

  9. I don’t know why you would ever think your work is not good enough! These are all gorgeous! On the other hand, I too struggle with still life images and the feeling of not quite as good as others! I think I’ve finally decided that it’s all right to follow my own style in this class. Looking forward to the next half of the class with you!

  10. These are all stunning, Leon! ALL. OF. THEM. Now you’ve inspired me to get into the studio. Still lifes are so great to do in the winter.

  11. Oh, how often we need to give ourselves that good talking too! And I am so glad you did – your still lifes are quite stunning. I am especially enamored (as you) with your dark background images – very painterly in composition and style. Good for you for pushing your boundaries and venturing into something uncomfortable that resulted in such beauty.

  12. Well I think they are all lovely. But now I want a pear omelet, for some reason. 🙂

  13. I’m so glad you shared these lovely still images! Well done! I am a bit intimidated too by the group, as I am not very practiced in doing a still life,, and most of the group seems so advanced. I love your “cooking for one’, it has such warmth and wonderful textures. Your pairs do look like paintings — the high contrast is very effective. You’ve inspired me to keep going with the group.

  14. Echoing the others’ comments, Bellissimo! I’m glad you gave yourself a good talking to. We are the richer for it.

    Also, I think Jen is on to something with the idea for a pear omelet. I may try one myself!

  15. Beautiful work Leon! I get the comparison thing though. Some of the gals in the class are so extremely talented and still life is not my genre that I gravitate to either. I am long belong on assignments, but that’s life and I am ok with it.

  16. I am so glad you talked yourself into posting these images. They are very well done and clearly on target for the assignments. Plus you get to show off some of your beautiful pieces!

  17. I LOVE the first one, adore the eggs and butter and of course I love that last one and you know why. I’ve watched the videos so I’m caught up in that respect but haven’t done the homework since the sun quit coming in my studio window. After Christmas I’ll get my set up moved to the dining room I hope.

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