Still life photography: The essential guide for photographers

In 1860, the early English photographer Roger Fenton faced a new challenge when confined to his home due to terrible, unpredictable weather. The renowned landscape photographer suddenly found himself cut off from the gorgeous countryside, unable to produce the kinds of pictures that had made him famous. But instead of packing away the camera, he began to create lush still lives indoors, using lilies, ferns, roses, grapes, and plums to create bountiful arrangements.
Those simple still lifes, made at the end of Fenton’s short photographic career, remain some of the most iconic pictures in recent history, rivaling even his epic landscapes. More than a century and a half later, they still feel fresh and modern. Right now, during a time when so many of us are isolated in our homes, Roger Fenton’s story serves as a powerful reminder that the simplest objects and the most modest of means can form the foundation for extraordinary images.
The still life genre, of course, comprises all images featuring inanimate subjects, from food to objects found around the house. Still life photographs can include any item that does not move (e.g., office supplies, kitchen utensils, etc.) or has died (e.g., cut …
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