Still life painting is something that I have grown into and I am inspired, not by the great masters like, Caravaggio who applied his form of naturalism to still life, but photographs.
Using the camera to – set the composition, the precise aspect ratio, depth of field, the distance – is a great tool. I then use these images in conjunction with the real observed objects.
The photograph above was taken using a Pentax Espio 120mi, which I obtained from a charity shop for £1.50. I used Ilford HP5 Plus a 35mm black and white film. More on HP5 here?
The quality of point and shoot 35mm film cameras is rather poor if you compare them to modern digital SLRs but…
The warm quality and retro feel of the images are perfect for my paintings.
The Pentax Espio 120mi is point-and-shoot, mid-range, 35mm film camera (also called a compact camera) and is a still camera designed for simplicity. The Espio is an autofocus unit, having automatic exposure settings options and a built in flash unit.
Design initiatives make this a small and flexible camera – notably the physical size and overall quality of finish make this camera a stylish baby. It houses a good quality zoom lens (38-120mm), with plenty of features that enable a variety of picture taking settings.
The focus and exposure system on this easy to use camera is an improvement on earlier Pentax compacts, giving sharp results and a decent contrast of tones. One of the most useful applications available on this model is ‘backlight compensation’ setting, which enables you to take a photograph using natural light in the background and flash in the foreground, giving an even tone across the image. Panorama mode is included in this little package which gives a different aspect ratio from most other cameras.
Caravaggio‘s Basket of Fruit (c. 1595–1600) is one of the first examples of -pure still life, precisely rendered and set at eye level.