Table top still life and the news photographer

Most press photographers will have lost count of the number of times they have been called into the office of the newspaper they are working for to ‘do a quick still life’. These vary from the simplest product shot to some interesting concept ideas. I thought that I’d share a few with you here:

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As you can see, I sometimes go to town with them and the stories you see illustrated here are about:

  • The risks of cloning and everyone looking and doing the same (rubber ducks)
  • Managing your credit (cutting up credit card)
  • Handling your savings (fist full of bank notes)
  • The aftermath of a school fire (melted clock)
  • A debate about healthy eating versus too many sweets (cauliflower and mars bar)
  • Reading the fine print in a new employment contract (magnifying glass)
  • Taking a chance with the school your child is going to (rolling the dice)
  • The high cost of housing in certain parts of the country (Monopoly houses on the map)

The main idea is to us decent light, keep the idea simple and not be tempted to try to do too large a picture in the cramped and messy confines of the office. I deliberately added the rolling dice idea because we had some giant dice available, I had an intern to help throw them and there was a nice piece of open ground nearby on a lovely sunny day.

Studio based still life photography is a tough discipline and we still get asked to do creative stuff that should be done “properly”. It has been said that press photographers make great all-rounders because we have to think on our feet and adapt all of the time: I won’t be arguing against that one!

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