Getting back the balance
When I first started photography, I had no kids. Instead I spent my time finding the weird things on the street. I love shape and light and texture. I briefly had a blog called “Zoomed In” which featured my street photography. It was filled with images I took at the Korean markets we visited. Spices in baskets, coke bottles on the steps of a grocery store, red plastic cats waving at you and so forth. I just liked finding the beauty in the not-so-obvious.
Then I had a baby and my personal narrative changed. I started focusing on the details of my newborn and motherhood. Tiny toes and sleepy eyes. The focus on my camera has stayed with my kids but my eyes still constantly see our strange and beautiful world in small pieces that fit into a frame.
Irving Penn is one of my all time favorite photographers. He is known for his fashion photography but he balanced his soul with still life. He photographed street trash and discarded cigarettes in his pristine, white studio. He placed skulls and flies in delicate still life arrangements. He found beauty in the obscure, overlooked and discarded. He saw texture and color and light in things that people would otherwise toss out. His work is brilliant.
I’ve always had a love for still life photography although I rarely have a “need” to do it. When traveling I like to capture the street life and architecture but most of my attention is directed at making sure small humans don’t run into traffic and capturing the story of our family vacation.
So when the occasion arose that my friend Natalie needed some product photos for her book, she asked me - even though she said a million times that she knew it was out of my “lane of photography”. Because my still life life happened before we met. And she didn’t know that I loved it. I was out of practice but not out of study. You see when you are drawn to a type of art, you surround yourself with it to feel complete.
So I wandered into her studio with my Sony mirrorless camera, a reflector and a speedlight and let my imagination run wild! She gave me full artistic reign and I channeled the spirit of Irving Penn in creating these pieces of art.
I had a fun time playing with my creativity and making art out of her beauty items. It was refreshing to me to work in this way again with intention and purpose! I got to experiment with design and light. Shape and movement. It refreshed my artistic soul!
I’ve set a goal for myself to photograph a still life once a week. It’s for me. It’s to keep the balance between the business of photography and the personal soul food part of photography.
I’ll share them here and possibly on social media. When I find something to be truly beautiful, it’s hard not to share!