Sunday, February 25, 2024

Best in Class: The Still Life Edition

Butternut Squash, East Conway, NH, October 2. 2003

Faded Roses, Bethlehem, NH,  August 12, 2005

Pave, Salzburg, Austria, April 10, 2006

In the early innings of my digital photography adventure I focused, no pun intended, on still lifes and headshots. Today we’ll journey back to the former which I titled Alignment. The Intimate Landscape might have been a better choice. I may change it.

Tubular, Colebrook, NH, September 26, 2006

Silvery Leaves, San Marino, California, April 26, 2007

Muffler Art, Rinconada, NM, March 7, 2008

This look back arises from inventorying dozens of framed or matted images dating back to my film to digital transition in the spring of 2002. That's when I bought the first high- resolution digital camera, the legendary Canon 1Ds, for just south of $8,000. That’s $13,887 in today’s dollars if you must know. I know you’ve read this story of my spendthriftyness several times and have asked yourself why anybody would do that. The answers are (1) I could and (2) it was the transformative high resolution DSLR camera of the time. The camera solidified Canon as the leader in digital photography. Those long gray lenses you see at every photojournalistic event in the world are Canons. 

But back to perusing still life photography in those pixel counting years, I was organizing my inventory and selecting images for my current Sketches of Winter Revisited show at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos when I pulled out a framed 24”x30” Butternut Squash. Peggy told me, “That’s still one of my favorites of yours. We should bring it home and hang it.”

The circumstances of Butternut Squash are etched in my memory. Peggy and I had just attended the Fryeburg Fair in Fryeburg, Maine. On the way back we stopped at a farm stand in East Conway, NH in a persistent drizzle, so the sky was overcast, and the bins of squash were softly lit and glistened with dew. The light caressed the squash, and each one was perfect and lush. I photographed the bins from directly above, perfectly square to the bin. The result was rich and voluptuous.

The others in this post are from the family of digital still lifes made from 2003 through 2008. It occurs to me as I write this that I offered a boxed set of still lifes like these at the Boxed Set Gallery in Santa many years ago. I, like Stieglitz and gallery owner Steve Zeifman, revere a handsome boxed presentation replete with white gloves. Yes, there were white gloves in my box. I still have the relic. Somewhere.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

You have done some great still life photography in your life, Steve, and I, like Peggy, have always loved the butternut squash. I am also fond of the Silvery Leaves in San Marino, CA. But the conditions at the farm stand in East Conway, NH must have been perfect and you recognized that. What happy serendipity. And the rest of us get to see the results. Loved the history of your transition from film to first digital camera. We all have reasons for doing what we did when. Glad you still have those white gloves. It is a secret. Some younger photographers don't even know what that means! Thanks, Steve!