Still life has a life of its own II

Still life photography is an area that requires an excellent eye for light and composition. There are already many excellent examples of the arrangement and staging of a still life in photography. If that is not enough for you, it is advisable to take a look at the history of still life painting. If you only know the classics and their rules, it is easier to achieve successful results in photography.

The lack of recognition for still lifes has always been a problem, since for many people they are only seen as copies, practically without any creative effort. This medium is often criticized, especially in photography. Because arranging inanimate objects and then taking a photo of them does not count as an artistic personal contribution for many, because theoretically one would have little effort in this endeavor. The lack of artistic imagination also contributes to the criticism of the still life. However, the still life lives from the magic of inanimate objects that arise between mimesis and symbolism.


Many modern still life photographs are very unique in their concept and execution. In order to understand the variety of different designs and their basic ideas, it is very advisable to deal with examples. Photography offers the designer the possibility of almost 1: 1 reproduction, which painting has been striving for for centuries. One is limited to the truthful appearance of the motifs. Of course, these can be abstracted to a certain extent on the basis of change or exposure to light. The modern still life tries less to aim for a true-to-original image than to create a meaningful and surprising staging.

Still life as practice

Thanks to the rigid lingering, the still life offers itself as an exercise motif. Whether painting or photography, taking pictures of the still objects seems easier for us and offers space to practice the creative craft without any time restrictions. Still life was part of the classical art class and got an upswing due to the continuous technical improvement of the cameras. In addition, the current social media world makes almost everyone a still life photographer. The need to photograph and post one’s possessions, food or found objects is stronger than ever. On the other hand, the symbolic content of these fast-moving forums declines, and the mass of representations reduces the viewer’s desire to decode each work with the greatest of accuracy.