Assignment 4 Responding to a theme – final edit

11th June 2020

The following photographs are my final selection for this assignment. To view the research and preliminary work the link is here and the contact sheets, here.

For this assignment we were asked to produce 3-5 still-life photographs. I have extended the objectives slightly, for although I have presented 5 photographs they are constructed of between five and eight sections each.

These sections give a full view of the complete shelving system, although for Mum’s Shelf 1, I forgot to do this and presented instead one whole shelf, and close ups of interesting objects forms, colours, textures, materials, texts as well as outlines of forms that play with negative spaces around them which provide interesting structures.

The final ‘Involuntary Still-life’ images show snap shots of peoples personal belongings which show their back history of likes and memories etc… I have called the overall series ‘Involuntary Still-Lives’ because I shot the objects where they lay on peoples shelves without conscious control over the still life objects positioning, they had to stay where they were, in the position that their owner had placed and/or left them whether they were aesthetically placed or not.

These shots or ‘Secret Lives of Shelves’ are presented within grids which enable me as the photographer to provide more information and therefore more interest. The aim to engage the viewer into looking longer at the sections to decipher the clues as well as to, hopefully, like the compositional values of the still-life crops and their function of presenting information and aesthetic qualities connected with a persons life.

The only draw back for this assignment is that I have been unable to complete it to its full aims and objectives due to the fact that with the current climate of social distancing, I cannot go into friends houses and shoot their shelves as already agreed with them. This lack of varying visual content means that the few objects and shelves that I have been able to shoot for this series are very limited in story lines and variety of objects.

The completed works for this assignment are below.

Mum’s Shelf 1

Mum’s Shelf 2

Rose’s Shelf

Poppy’s Shelf 1

Poppy’s Shelf 2


Overall I cannot fully judge if this concept has fully worked due to the fact I was unable to widen the series to include other peoples shelf stories outside of my immediate house. It will be interesting to see how my view may change if I extend this series later by photographing my friends shelves and indeed if more stimuli and stories means more interest.

Dawn Tomlin quote from blog post here

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