Assignment 5: Still Life


Tatiana Iskandar: Requirements 1, 2, 4


For this photo, I was inspired by Charles Gilbert's All Is Vanity. I really wanted to make a scene portraying vanity with a hidden skull. Even though the skull is not as evident in my photo as in his drawing, you can still see it if you look the right way. The necklace around the lipstick and its reflection are the two eyes, the coin purse is the nose hole, and the pearls and mirror frame hint at the outline of the skull. My skull is inverted in since the holes are white and the skull part is dark brown.

With just the skull outline I thought the image was a bit boring, so I added a peacock feather (symbol of pride) and lipstick to represent vanity further. Setting up a still life collection is a lot more work than I thought! I am still not fully satisfied with my setup, but I do not have the type of resources/props to make it perfect.

For the background I used a brown blanket so that the white colors would stand out. I also put a little box under the blanket so that I could set the jewelry box on top of it. I also wish I had thought to hold another dark piece of fabric behind me so that the mirror reflection would look more in place.

For the lighting, I do not really have lights besides my ceiling light so I moved the setup so that everything would be lit the way I wanted. I wanted the top right edge of the mirror frame to be lit so that it would look more like an edge of the skull.

To process this, I played with the curves to make it more contrasty. After doing this, the whites were too white, so I added a blue exclusion layer to make them more ivory/creme colored.

I shot with a f/2.8 aperture to get everything but the background pearls in focus. I focused on the box clasp because I set it up so that everything I wanted to be in focus would be close to that plane.

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