Task: incorporate a hanging bottle with “a posy” into a still life. I struggled with how to fulfill this assignment. I have a few old bottles, and I could tie some sort of cord around their necks, but where would I hang them? I live in a very plain apartment with limited light. No architectural details or interesting hooks. As for posies — well, it’s midwinter in Maine, so there’s nothing growing outside even if I had a garden, which I don’t. Nor did I have the extra funds this week to run to the store to buy flowers.
So after grumbling to myself for a few days (so much for breathing deeply and being still!) I decided to see what I could do with what I do have. I tied a piece of ribbon from my gift-wrap stash around the neck of a favorite antique bottle. I filled the bottle with water and tucked in a sprig of greenery from my lavender plant, and a couple of tiny flowers from my potted Oxalis (also known as shamrock plant). Then I started walking around the house looking for someplace to hang it.
Hanging on the knob of a folding closet door. Still not very interesting.
Oops — maybe a little too interesting. This one includes half an unplanned selfie and the reflection of my unmade bed. I did like the light, though.
Better. This is the frame of my dresser mirror, adding some contrast and the warmth of old wood.
Then . . . finally . . . this:
This photo makes me happy. Once again it combines everyday and favorite things — an over-the-door hook on the back of my bedroom door; a 20-year-old fleece shirt I keep there, ready to throw on for a bit of extra warmth and comfort at the end of the day; a little bottle I’ve had for 45 years. It’s a reflection of who I am, and also of the serene, still person I aspire to truly be on the inside.
Best of Props
This chair is one of my favorite props from the past year and will no doubt appear in many more photos in the future. I needed a desk chair, and I bought this one specifically because I thought it would be a great photo prop. It’s old and a bit rickety, and someone has done a pretty sloppy job of “antiquing” it. The paint is drippy, cracked, and chipping. But it does the job at my desk, and it photographs beautifully!
My goal has been to avoid buying things just for photo props, because I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not acquire more. But I have to admit that when I’m shopping for something I do need, the first thing I notice now is its potential as a prop. (Wait til you see the dish towels I just found at TJ Maxx!) I’m really enjoying using what I already have to create my still lifes for these lessons. But if there’s one photo prop I’m secretly lusting after, it’s that turquoise half-dozen egg crate at Anthropologie. I have absolutely no need for it, but oh, isn’t it pretty?!