The P52 Assignment Brief: Still Life with Flower.

Bret Doss

“A color, vertical (portrait) oriented still life image with ordinary objects, diffuse main light source, that must contain at least one flower, but the flower(s) must not be the subject of the image. The objects must be simple and not shiny (no chrome or glossy black). The objects should fit within a 20 inch by 20 inch table top space.” 

This brief has a number of constraints and requirements, but within those boundaries a fair amount of latitude for creative interpretation remains.

Followers of my blog might know that I tend to favor calla lilies, so for this assignment I decided to go another way.  I headed to the nursery to see what was available and found some deep red dahlias that fit my concepts — I selected a couple of plants so that I would be assured of having fresh choices at the time of the shoot (and also so I could plant them in the garden afterwards).  I had two concepts in mind: a flower in a coffee cup and a still life with my Mom’s old cast iron cookware.  While the coffee cup shot was the first one that popped into my mind, only the cookware/flower shot complied with the assignment’s constraints.  I added an old cookie sheet with a great patina (purchased on a prop hunt at Goodwill a couple of years ago), set up a large softbox for the diffused main light, and added a grid spot to bring out some texture in the muffin skillet. Water in the central ‘scoop’ of the skillet kept the flower fresh under the warm modeling lights.

I still wanted to make the flower in coffee cup image, so after completing the assignment image, I composed a separate still life/lighting approach and made the image.  The shiny chrome tongs and spatula required additional care with their positions relative to the lights, white cards, and camera angle.  My coffee cups in three different sizes all came with the same size saucers, so I experimented with each to find a pleasing ‘radius ratio’ in the overhead view.

Flower Still Life © Bret Doss 2015 001

image © Bret Doss — all rights reserved

Bret-Doss-Assignment-3 02 image © Bret Doss — all rights reserved

See for more of Bret’s images.

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