STILL LIFE 160 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 5

 

I’ve sampled the excellent food in Rosemarino’s Italian restaurant several times now, and taken some pictures while waiting for my meal to arrive.  Two photos (including a chair) are already posted here and here.

Now, looking at chairs some more, here are more Minimalist views of this restaurant’s simple but completely adequate seating.  My favourite amongst them?  Probably the second image down, for its simple silhouettes and pale, pastel colours – and also, looking at this image naively, the question: which are in the foreground, the colours or the silhouettes?

Which (if any!) of these images do you prefer?

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: all of these images are jpegs straight out of the X-T2; aside from application of the X-T2’s in-camera film simulations, there has been no post-capture processing whatsoever.  All were taken with the 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; spot metering.

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STILL LIFE 155 – TWO YELLOW CHAIRS, BACK TO BACK

 

 


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Two chairs, back to back, beside a window.

Sitting in Browns, waiting for the third breakfast of the long morning – a repast which might have equated to what we Brits call Elevenses, except that it was just after ten.

I always sit at any table that looks across the room towards the windows onto the street, because these provide good cross- and backlighting.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Browns Restaurant, Bristol; 19 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 156 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 4

 

 


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Decaying public seating in central Bristol; 14 June 2013.

I focused on the rotting wood and let the rest look after itself – a benefit of cameras with smaller sensors is that they increase depth of focus.  The out of focus metal armrest lower right brings both depth and a graceful curve to the composition.  The rear leg of the seat introduces more curves, and the pavement is a neutral, segmented backdrop.

The dull, overcast day, with it paucity of shadows, was right for this kind of photo.

And I received the usual puzzled stares – “What’s that daft old **** doing?!” – as I slowly circled what had attracted my eye.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (35mm equivalent); 200 ISO; rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

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STILL LIFE 151 – CHAIR BESIDE A ROUND TABLE (MONO)

 

 


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Felt like a black and white fix, it gets me like that from time to time, and so … The chair next to mine, in Browns Restaurant, Bristol.

This view was immediately to the left of the one here, the chair pictured above can just be seen on the far left.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Contrast Orange Filter preset, and adding a light coffee tone; 28 Apr 2017.
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STILL LIFE 148 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 3 (MONO)

 

 


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Chairs beside a table; outside the Hurtwood Inn Hotel, Peaslake, Surrey;  25 Mar 2012.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found here Subsequent posts are here: 2

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 800 ISO; Capture NX2; converted to mono, and toned, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

UPDATE: there are four objects in this near abstract image, a table and three chairs (together with the briefest glimpse on their substrate, the floor on which they’re standing, at lower right).  None of these four objects is seen in its entirety, due to the objects overlapping each other, and to parts of them being cropped out by the image’s frame.  Presentation in black and white and the chairs’ wickerwork textures enhance the abstract effect, the textures in particular making each chair seem to consist of disparate patterned shapes.
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STILL LIFE 144 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 2

 

 


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One of the chairs around the table in what we grandly call our dining room, photographed against a black background.

An old image – wow, 11 years old! – and seen on this blog before.  Captured on film, and doubtless with the aid of a tripod.  I used that wonderful and completely gratis illumination, window light, and hung a black sheet behind the chair to completely black out the background – the sheet must have been in shadow, since that no trace of its surface textures can be seen.

A Minimalist image, and so to the mantras – less is more, simple is beautiful, small is beautiful – all very true, to my mind.  Most of the chair is out of shot, only three, separate elements remain.  This suggests a basic point.  An artist starts with a blank canvas and adds things to it, but a photographer (often) starts with a viewfinder or screen brimming over with stuff >>> now the intention may be to photograph all of the stuff, an entire landscape for example, but in many instances the photographer finds him/herself in a subtractive role, removing some items from the scene by altering the position of the camera and/or doing some post-capture cropping of the image, so that the photograph’s subject assumes greater prominence – as in this shot.  I’ve read that many photographers try to cram too much into their images, so that viewers’ eyes can’t fix onto anything – and because they don’t know where to look, they become visually confused and roam around the image and then out of it – and the appeal of the image suffers accordingly.  We live in an age of I want it all and I want it now!, but maybe I want less than it all! can be ok too.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found here.

Technique: F6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 200mm; Fuji Velvia 100 colour slide rated at 200 ISO; Bristol; 29 Mar 2006.

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STILL LIFE 141 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 1

 

I enjoy looking at things, and seeing how light falls on them.  A lot of my photography these days consists of looking for beautiful light, and then thinking what to do with it.  I quite often photograph cars for just this reason: they can have beautiful lines, and their metal and glass bodies are eminently reflective; when stationary they are still life subjects sensu stricto – but they can also be rewarding when in motion.

To me, chairs can be rather like cars in some respects, beyond the bald fact that we use both of them for sitting on or in.  Chairs can be objects of beauty and, beyond being thrown around in bar room brawls, they mostly stay still while light flows over them, so that it is possible to really look at how they interact with it – and of course, unlike cars, it is often easy to move chairs around, to examine new light/shadow effects.

And so to a brief series of chair pictures, some from my archives, others from my propensity for peering around with a camera while I’m sitting in various eateries, waiting to immerse my snout in their delicious delights.  Many of the resulting images tend towards the Minimal, and some the abstract.

These may not be the most exciting series of images in creation. They will most probably have a distinctly calm and tranquil air, which may be a welcome distraction from today’s rushed and frenetic world.  I hope you will enjoy them.

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In Rosemarino, an Italian restaurant in Clifton, Bristol; 7 April 2017.

What I like about this picture: the massive, dark chair back, with a thin rim of backlighting around the top; the backlighting also catching the underside of the curved element; and the faint browns glowing on the left upright.  The background is diffuse, but with subtle variations that add to things.  This picture could be presented in black and white, but I value the subtle touches of colour.

There is another picture from Rosemarino here.

Click onto this image to open another in a separate window, and click onto that image to greatly enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation.
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STILL LIFE 134 – CITY LIFE

 

 


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City life: the clean, soulless hospitality of a corporate foyer, with traffic lights outside and more corporate architecture across the road.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 125mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Broad Quay, central Bristol; 9 Sept 2016.
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STILL LIFE 90 – YELLOW CHAIR WITH BLUE LEGS

 

 


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Sitting in Browns after a lot of walking and photography, looking at the interplay of light, colours, shapes and textures.

There are other pictures of chairs, and thoughts, from Browns here and here.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto this larger image once again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 206mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom; rotated; Browns restaurant, central Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.
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STILL LIFE 85 – TABLE AND CHAIR

 

 

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Table and yellow chair, Browns restaurant, Bristol; 24 Feb 2017.

Another early start in the city; and another retreat, after hours of walking, to Browns.  Well I’d been here before and knew what I wanted visually.  And so despite a waiter’s rather fluttering directions to a particular table, I went over to a deserted part of the restaurant where, as before, light from large windows was streaming in across empty tables and chairs. What a pleasant experience – lounging back with Eggs Benedict, a china pot of good tea (complete with strainer!), beautiful natural light, and something like swing music permeating the room at not too great a volume – I was almost tempted to an aperitif – the menu kept suggesting a Bloody Mary, or perhaps even champagne …

Technique: the back light pouring in through the widows was lovely.  About 10 feet away, a table top was blazing but the yellow chair beside it was far more subtly illuminated.  Focus was on the table top and, even though the lens was stopped down a little, use of a x6 magnification telephoto that close in minimalized depth of field, so that the chair stayed soft.  Spot metering ensured that none of the highlights on the gleaming table were blown out.

Composition: this is how this image grabs me >>> but we are all visual individuals, and so it may not grab you in this way >>> and it may not grab you at all.  My eyes are drawn immediately to the bright and textured table top.  But then, having looked at this curved presence filling the top left of the picture, I’m aware that the frame holds other, more subdued, curving elements too – the side of the chair nearest to us, the lit edge of which curves down from top right to the central foreground, and its open back, which is an oval area of blackness with diffuse rim-lighting.  And then of course, getting away from all these curves, there is the great clash between the table’s sharp, steely, silver and grey hues, and all of the diffusely seen, far lower key shades of yellow.  So that although the picture’s most obvious and overbearing element is the table, it is complemented by far more subdued items elsewhere in the frame.  And did I see all this when I took the shot??? – most certainly not, I simply thought that it was an attractive scene.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click again onto that larger image.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom.
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