abstracts all over


although you will set up most still life shots yourself, some are unwittingly arranged by others. The ornaments on a mantelpiece, the display in a store window, or tools stacked

in a shed—all are still lifes ready to be shot. There are also more abstract alternatives.

A still life doesn’t need to be carefully arranged at all. Rather than finding items that have been stacked or set out together, you can simply use the camera itself to create the still-life composition. By using the camera angle and viewpoint creatively, you can get interesting images out of what at first seem to be mundane, everyday objects.

It is simply a matter of seeing things in a new light—and creating a new and unexpected context for the elements that you find. Inevitably this means trying to hunt out interesting pattern, shape, form, or texture in even the least promising settings. If you try to simplify the composition as much as possible, you can end up with an almost abstract image. Ideally, although carefully planned, the finished picture should look almost accidental. The subject is familiar—but the scene has been revealed in an unfamiliar, artistic way.