Comparing apples to apples and the difference between dark and light

Sounds heavy eh? bear with me…

Here’s the apples to apples bit, two shots I made yesterday of the same subject from two different angles, different lens’s as well. Who can guess how the lighting set up was, in other words what kind of light did I use and how many and where were they placed?

 
And now the dark and light, I was looking at notable blogs and came across this one which had great photography in fact it won the Saveur best food blog 2013 in the photography category, called vkreesphotography.com it is a food blog by Vanessa Rees who is in Brooklyn USA and what particularly caught my eye was two of the sections in her portfolio called dark food and light food, on closer inspection it turns out it’s the overall colour key of the image so more dark in the picture especially background is dark food, and lighter background equals light food right?
I have included two screenshot examples from her excellent portfolio below to illustrate the point.

Photo credit: VK REES PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo credit: VK REES PHOTOGRAPHY

Check out her blog and photography portfolio here vkreesphotography.com

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Sunny but cold

That’s how the weather man would describe today’s weather, it was as we say “fresh” on the beach this morning and the sea is still frozen out as far as the eye can see.
Good day for staying in, Maggie has taken to the newest creations from Hawkes’ Hounds (more on that here) and now hides amongst them when I get a camera out.

The subject of my still-life project today was these rather lovely wooden table boards, not sure what the official name is here but they are used as sideplates and the spade-like spoony looking things are used to spread butter, really nicely made and from not far from us along the coast in Trelleborg the manufacturer is a chap called Bengt Åkesson
I used a technique to light this picture which simulates dappled sunlight which is something we are particularly looking forward to around these parts!

…and finally

If you arrived here looking for my http://www.nickhawkesphotography.com site I have put that site hosted by livebooks on hold for the moment and re-directed the URL to here. 
Still plenty of pictures to see on my Flickr page too.

A long time ago

My special guest on the blog today is someone who influenced me when taking this picture below, a painter, from Spain, his name is Juan Sánchez Cotán. Any of you interested in still life will no doubt be familiar with his name.
Click on this image to view on black background.

He was born in 1560 in the town of Orgaz, near Toledo, Spain. Cotán began by painting altarpieces and religious works. For approximately twenty years, he pursued a successful career in Toledo as an artist, patronized by the city’s aristocracy, painting religious scenes, portraits and still lifes. These paintings found a receptive audience among the educated intellectuals of Toledo society. He executed his notable still lifes around the beginning of the seventeenth century, before the end of his secular life. An example (below) is Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber (painted in 1602, and now in the San Diego Museum of Art).

On August 10, 1603, Sánchez Cotán , then in his forties, closed up his workshop at Toledo to renounce the world and enter the Carthusian monastery Santa Maria de El Paular. He continued his career painting religious works with singular mysticism. In 1612 he was sent to the Granada Charterhouse, he decided to become a monk, and in the following year he entered the Carthusian monastery at Granada as a laybrother.

His style and the aspect I particularly like…

Sánchez Cotán established the prototype of the Spanish still life, called a bodegón, composed mainly of vegetables. Characteristically, he depicted a few simple fruits or vegetables, some of which hang from a fine string at different levels while others sit on a ledge or window. The forms stand out with an almost geometric clarity against a dark background. This orchestration of still life in direct sunlight against impenetrable darkness is the hallmark of early Spanish still life painting. Each form is scrutinized with such intensity that the pictures take on a mystical quality, and the reality of things is intensified to a degree that no other seventeenth-century painter would surpass.

He depicted few artifacts, other than the strings from which vegetables and fruits dangle, this being the common means in the seventeenth century of preventing food and vegetables from rotting. Even if the objects are arranged so that they seem close enough to touch, they are nevertheless distanced. For all the realism with which they are depicted, the isolation of each object, heightened further by the black background, lends them a monumental, almost sculptural gravity.

Juan Sánchez Cotán ended his days universally loved and regarded as a saint. He died in 1627 in Granada.