I really enjoyed this 90 minute BBC4 program on Still Life painting – its crowded with wonderful images, I found it definitely inspiring, and it does also touch on photography.


Broadcast last Tuesday, it can still be found on catch-up TV, and here are BBC links for it –


I’ve often talked about Western eyes viewing images from left to right, which may be a product of the direction in which we read and write.   There are times when I take into account this left to right tendency when thinking about photographic compositions.


And so a most interesting statement made in this program is that the great majority of Still Life paintings are lit from the left – with the point being made that this may well be due to our left to right visual tendencies – our eyes pass across images from the left, and so lighting images from the left ensures that we see a series of lit objects, rather than a series of shadowed ones.


Another fascinating fact is that, for reasons of religion, Still Life painting died out after Roman times, being absent from medieval art before being revived by a revolutionary study by Caravaggio just after 1600.






About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Sallyann says:

    Hiya. I’ve noted your advice before about left to right reading and often thought about it when using a path or something to walk you into my picture.
    Thanks for the gentle reminder. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paula graham says:

    Interesting post..think what you may but Still life painting is not something that speaks to me much…lack of feeling on my part..I am sure!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’m partly with you there, Paula, I don’t find still life photography over rewarding, but I have to say that many of the paintings shown in this program were striking – and there were very interesting thoughts too – I might talk about one of them in TI16! Adrian


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