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An analysis of how photography addresses ideas about still life, with particular reference to the works of Irving Penn Still Life - Essay Example

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An analysis of how photography addresses ideas about still life, with particular reference to the works of Irving Penn Still Life

rtant element complementing composition and the message conveyed by the artwork or “communicating allegorical or latent meanings” (Martineau, p.6); it later developed as an independent art form, acquiring its own definition, canons and traditions. Most dictionaries give the following definition to still life: it is a picture that consists of inanimate objects like flowers, fruit, vessels or dead game. But on the other hand, still life as a genre has always been a subject to cultural influences that formed differences in defining and thinking of this genre.
The first photographic still life picture emerged about a decade before the official announcement of photography invention in 1839 (Martineau, p.6). Nicephore Niepce, the inventor, was an author of the picture named Set Table depicting a laid table offering a meal for one person. The objects on the picture are rounded by deep shadows (the evidence of lengthy exposure), and the austerity of the photographed meal conveys allusions to Da Vinci’s Last Supper (Martineau, p.6).
As photography emerged as a revolutionary art enabling “painting” not with brushes, but with light, the golden age of painting was gradually replaced by the age of digital fine art. Photography virtually borrowed almost all genres from painting, vesting them in the form of new technologies and using new means to create a desirable effect. In this way, still life migrated to photography, carrying all the key traditions of conventional still life painting to the newly invented art. Particularly, the photographers working at the dawn of photography practiced nature morte as one of the principal genres, using the same objects of depiction their predecessors used to paint with oil or watercolor. Thus, first attempts in photography mirrored compositions used previously in pictorial art (Ingledew, p. 57).
The reason pioneers of photography such as Roger Fenton chose still life as the most favorable genre and inanimate objects as their ...Show more
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In painting, the tendency to depict inanimate objects emerged several centuries ago with Dutch painters being the pioneers in this art…
An analysis of how photography addresses ideas about still life, with particular reference to the works of Irving Penn Still Life
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