By MICHAEL PERKINS
OVER MANY YEARS, I’VE FASHIONED A SERIES OF STILL-LIFE COMPOSITIONS on a white formica counter that is just inside an eastern-facing window in my writing room. The light from dawn to at least mid-morning is intense and warm, strong enough to provide ambient illumination for nearly anything staged near it. Fine-tuning can be accomplished with either a twist or a roll of the slatted window blinds. It’s a simple set-up, and one which is great for short-notice projects.
Slats the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it…..
The usual rule to be observed, at least in conventional picture-making, is to place the staged tableaux out of the direct path of the shadow patterns created by whatever position the blinds are in. However, over time, I’ve become used to doing exactly the opposite, to giving the shadows a starring role in the images, letting their grids and line fall wherever they may. I don’t always let them pIay directly over the subject, but I notice that, when I do, they add an extra sensation of depth, which is handy since I am sometimes shooting directly overhead, baking a certain amount of flatness into the images. Also, the light-then-dark-then-light gridding boosts colors and textures in some areas while muting them in others, and so, with a few quick adjustments I can get a lot of different looks across a brief series of exposures.
Am I adhering to a “style” or attempting a “signature” with these shots? Probably nothing so intentional. I just love seeing what happens when I shake up the usual formulas (formulae?). In any event, you’re invited to judge the results for yourself by clicking on the topside tab for my newest mini-gallery of shots entitled “Color Inside The Lines” or merely by clicking here.
Hey, the deliberate assembly of a tabletop still-life is already an artificial construct, a fantasy. One more element either way just tweaks the fun a bit more.