Lens-Artists #246: Still Life

This week, we’re focusing on still life photography, which captures inanimate objects. If you think still life photos have to include platters of fruit and vegetables (like the image below), don’t worry. In fact, you can photograph just about anything: flowers, silverware, a variety of products (think of advertising), fruit, kitchen utensils, tools, and objects around your office or home.

In this challenge, we’re exploring different types of still life images, not only the traditional “created” arrangement, but also “found” still life scenes–which you might discover in store windows, in a garden or museum, or just about anywhere.

Let’s start with a “found” still life, which I saw in a shop window in London a few years ago.

At first glance, this is a classic still life–much like the ones created hundreds of years ago by Dutch masters. But look closely and you’ll see a very modern detail–a watch next to the ear of corn. The store was selling…you guessed it….watches.

Here’s another “found” still life in the Japanese wing in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I loved the arrangement of the chair and the window with a view of the garden.

I came upon this beautiful arrangement in a totally unexpected place–the ground floor lobby of an apartment building in Seville, Spain. The furniture, plants and copper pots were displayed to highlight the gorgeous mosaic panels surrounding the fireplace and the architectural details of this historic building. I love the graceful and timeless beauty of this arrangement.

Now, let’s take a look at some still life images that were specifically created–in terms of light, composition, and inclusion or inclusion of specific elements.

With some reshuffling of the silverware, candle, and a bottle of wine, I was able to capture the reflection of the restaurant windows in this glass of Prosecco. The waiters didn’t seem to mind!

This final image was also deliberately staged. I wanted to tell a story of a quiet breakfast–a cup of tea, some fruit, and some Venchi chocolate inside the little box.

It was a sunny morning and our kitchen was filled with diffuse light. I played around with the arrangement of objects, added and subtracted a few, and checked how the light reflected off the teapot and the fruit. Then, when I was finally happy with the result, I could eat breakfast!

We invite you to join us this week for the Still Life challenge. Feel free to include “created” and “found” still life scenes–which you might find in your archives, create for this challenge, and/or discover near or far. Be sure to include the “lens-artists” tag and link to this post. We’re looking forward to seeing your diverse and imaginative “takes” on this theme and your always creative posts.

A special thanks to Tina for hosting last week’s Environments challenge and giving us her marvelous inspiration last week. We enjoyed seeing your preference(s)–city, country, suburb, small town, and your thoughts on how our environments shape us and our experiences.

Looking ahead, it’s Ann-Christine’s turn to lead us, so be sure to stop by Leya, her gorgeous site, next Saturday at noon EST. In the meantime, I’m hoping that your week is filled with plenty of light and creative inspiration.

Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.

167 replies »

    • Hi Andre. Oh, I’m glad you like the last one! I wasn’t sure if it had too many objects in it. But they seemed to harmonize well. I’m delighted you shared your still life images. That cup of hot coffee/tea is terrific. I’ll try it once I figure out how to capture the curls of smoke. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sofia. I think I sometimes surprise myself and find these ready-made scenes. They’re fun once I opened my mind to them. 🙂 The traditional still life is harder, for sure. But ultimately it can be rewarding too. I think the challenge may have been hard for you, but you found some wonderful ready-made scenes. I love the scene with the globe. Wonderful mood/light/setting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful, AC. I’m happy you enjoyed them. I can picture the photos you’ve posted of your glass house. Maybe one of them would work as a still life? But then again, you’ve posted many wonderful “found” scenes from your travels! Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. You had me smiling from the word go, because my Monday post next week kicks off with tea and cake. I hadn’t thought of it as still life, but it most certainly was, until I ate it, Patti. That scene in Seville, or one very similar, could be found in countless patios. Very beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wasn’t sure if I have many “still life” images in my gallery, then I got to thinking that with the latitude you’ve given in this challenge, I have more than enough to share. In fact, I think I should think about the genre more often when I pick up a camera. Great topic, Patti!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It didn’t look very comfortable…but still it would be lovely to spend time there! The poor man who rented the apartment off the lobby had a bedroom on one side and a kitchen and bathroom on the other so he had to pass through the public space all day long! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend and the sunshine wherever you are!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. great theme – and I like the tea, strawberries and choc box the most – I thought it was a book at first – but the whole mode is even more enriched with the bowl of fruit and the way it adds color to the white tea pot and pop or color from the strawberries
    I am not off to think about my post for this theme….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think this is a good set of photos due to how easy on the eyes they are.
    There’s a lot of detail in some; not so much others, but there’s no sense of cluttering, I think.
    There’s also an appreciable balance of light and colour in each. Everything feels simple, overall. Nothing feels garish or overbearing.

    Here’s mine for this one:

    Tea on the Edge

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is a truly marvelous post Patti. Your choices are stunning – I especially loved the shop window (great eye on that one!) and the prosecco glass (again, a perfect example that photography is about seeing first and foremost) as well as your personal creation at the end. Really beautifully done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have me smiling now as I’m eating breakfast! Thanks for a great start to my day! I had fun with this challenge and I’m delighted that the photos illustrate the range of possibilities. I’m looking forward to seeing your post, too. Have a great week, filled with sunshine and golf. 🙂 🙂


  6. Beautiful photos; I love the soft light that you have in all of them. Isn’t it interesting that the “found” objects that we know will do wonderfully as still lifes are actually arranged by someone else? I find that wonderful as a real wilderness is, often a photo looks terribly bland. You need to add something to hold your interest. Quite unlike a garden, where someone’s hand is always involved in the layout.

    From me this week: https://anotherglobaleater.wordpress.com/2023/04/24/still-life/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, IJ! I really enjoyed your thoughts and images about still life photos. And yes, “found” objects are sometimes artfully arranged by someone else (like the lobby of the building in Spain). It’s interesting to see some store windows here in Florence with a jumble of unorganized items for sale…I haven’t seen that in such a long time!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Patti, this might be my favorite of ALL of your posts I’ve seen. The lighting in all the still-life pictures is fabulous, but I particularly like the one you arranged with the fruit and coffee pot. It is amazing how you thought of just those items to arrange together. I’ll work on something for my Wednesday post. This is an inspiring post. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Not everyone is good at arranging things artistically. Whenever I arrange something someone always comes behind me and makes little of big changes. I have my mother’s sense of decorating-admire the work of others and stick to cleaning. LOL Actually I’m good at cleaning because Mom wasn’t good at that either! I married an amateur decorator/designer/architect. It works for me!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sheetal. I’m so happy you like these images. And you’re so right…So much to see when we press pause! I love that. I loved your dreams of Korea post and I’m looking forward to your photos from there.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have read this four times and see different things in your photos every time I do. I loved this challenge, Patti. Knowing your background helps me appreciate even more the impact you have had on viewers of your work (throughout life). Initially, I didn’t want to pick a favorite. The scene in Seville is a stopper for sure. I loved the chair near the garden window in the Museum, and thought it was initially a mirror. The strawberries and pot could be found in a magazine and is. sure invitation to sit next to you for breakfast. But my favorite will have to the Prosecco. It is elegant, with the lighting and perfect placement to see through it. And to think you staged it is fun. lol. I love all of this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Janet. I’m delighted you joined us and shared your terrific collection. Thanks for your kind words, too, about the images. The champagne toast came from a New Year’s Eve dinner. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Such a pretty theme!
    You gave these lifeless items life with this theme!
    What a lovely composition of objects in this photograph taken in Seville, Spain!
    I adore the window design of the Boston Museum with its perspective of vegetation.
    Also, the amazing image of the windows that was transmitted through the wine glass! (To be completely honest, I was more drawn to the wine)
    I’m thankful, Pattimoed.

    Liked by 2 people

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