Waverley Camera Club

A still life – Definition

by on Apr.15, 2009, under Competitions

The WCC August competition subject is ‘Still Life’ and I have been approached on a couple of occasions to define what ‘Still Life’ actually means. Well it just happens that the Digital Photography + Design magazine had the very same question asked of them. Therefore I have used the same answer as they did to define what ‘Still Life’ is and you can find it as described below, published in the pages of Wikipedia.

A still life (plural still lifes [1]) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewellery, coins, pipes, and so on) in an artificial setting. With origins in ancient times and most popular in Western art since the 17th century, still life paintings give the artist more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition than do paintings of other types of subjects such as landscape or portraiture. Still life paintings, particularly before 1700, often contained religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. Some modern still life breaks the two-dimensional barrier and employs three-dimensional mixed media, and uses found objects, photography, computer graphics, as well as video and sound.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

1 Comment for this entry

  • Stephen

    I believe the the first paragraph of the ‘Still life photography’ page is more relevant:

    “Still life photography is the depiction of inanimate subject matter, most typically a small grouping of objects that are either human-made or “natural.” Still life photography, more so than other types of photography, such as landscape or portraiture, gives the photographer more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition.”


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