Weekly Photo Challenge: “Arranged”


I don’t do too much still life work but with the way my wife decorated for Thanksgiving last year, I was inspired to set up this composition. I wanted to create an image that not only reflected the occasion literally but also invoked that mixed nuance of heartfelt warmth and love that is attributed with the season, and that people try to acquire most times of the year. That’s an important story, and I like to think that most people can relate to it.

After taking a series of bracketed shots and eliminating the ones that I didn’t care for, I left three keepers on my hard drive. Figuring I might do post-prod with them a year later for Thanksgiving 2012, I did nothing more with them until this challenge.

“Cozy” is the working name; I’m not sure I’m done with this piece. I’ve pushed the warm hues to make them pop and convey the atmosphere of contentment but I’m still wondering if I should crop the top down a little more. I just don’t want to shave off too much because I’m quite drawn to the two-tone aesthetics of the lit and shaded parts of the walls.

The floor is open for critique.


20 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: “Arranged”

  1. I immediately thought of Thanksgiving when I saw the photo. I do love the arrangement. I wondered if you had placed the dried flowers a bit more in view to signify an arranged funeral. I thought that might be a clever idea and a play on the word “arranged”.

  2. I do like the lighting you got in this but I find the colour of the wall detracts from the photo, it doesn’t allow any of the colours to pop. Perhaps a darker background Like a black, blue or green?

    • Much appreciated!

      During the shoot, I considered adding a bright white light to the tops of the roses but then descided it might look too contrived which goes against the purpose of creating of any still life, whether its a painting, drawing or a photograph. Even if a deliberate arrangement, there must be a considerable element of naturalness and simplicity about it.

      If it was going to appear as a natural highlight on the flowers, or even shafts of daylight on the wall behind I would have tried to pull it together but I could see then that it wasn’t going to work. An artist has to be able to walk away so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

      I’m glad about your assessment of the bottom third. That’s where I concentrated the most with the arrangement, and hoped most viewers’ attention would be drawn there. As Madhu noticed, I wanted to take advantage of the similar but inverted contours between the squash and lamp base. I find it really difficult to accurately convey texture in photography. Being an illustrator, I can do it better by painting and drawing than by shooting. I really admire shooters that can do it far more effectively, seemingly every single time.

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