Informing Contexts - Positioning Practice
Over the course of this module I have been exploring the art of still life and the differences and indeed similarities between photography and painting. During this research I have discovered Sharon Core, an American painter and photographer who has produced some exceptional bodies of work in this genre. In particular her series Early American includes a wide selection of images where Core has re-created still life photographs inspired by the paintings from up to 300 years ago.
Whilst there are not many online interviews to be found, I did discover the following between Eleni Zymaraki Tzortzi of the Ex_Posure Magazine and Core from November 2015.
I came to Core first and foremost through her images, having googled still life photography, very early on in my studies. Her style with dark backgrounds and lighting reminiscent of the work of Caravaggio, really appealed to me and my own preferred style. However having researched her further and a number of comments in this interview, her influence on me is more profound than just taking images that are similar to hers.
As a trained painter ,Tzortzi asks Core why she felt the need to complete her work as photographs rather than paintings. Core points to the love she has for the moment the image is made, the 'delicious tension' that exists at that fraction of a second the shutter is released compared with the much longer process involved with painting. As someone who also has a background in painting and drawing I can really relate to this emotional connection with photography. I have the artistic and creative ideas in my head, but cannot wait to execute them, rather than spending hours, if not days making a painting.
I have been exploring the use of poetry and prose with my work and again Core spoke directly to me through this interview when she responded to a question regards the role of still life photography today, saying 'Pictures are pictures and their power comes from the poetry of form and their conceptual underpinnings.' In adding a line of poetry to my images I am hoping to put into words that visual poetry that Core speaks about here, whilst keeping a slightly ambiguous, conceptual feel to each of them.
Core goes on to explain that still life images refuse to speak, that they do not have a story or a hero and therefore the arrangement and composition is vital and one that requires a lot of intense mental focus and scrutiny. Again having spent the last three months exploring this genre, I can only agree at the mental focus that is required for what on the face of it can appear a relatively easy process. How hard can it be to arrange a vase of flowers ? The simple answer is a lot harder than it looks to the novice's eye.
As part of my research I started off looking at producing photographs that had a painterly look to them in terms of their aesthetic and textures applied However in much the same way that Core sees her work playing with representation, reproduction and realism, so I have now adopted a much photographic finish to my images. I want to us the compositional influence of painting but I want my images to be locked into the aspect of realism, they need to be first and foremost photographs not paintings.
Ελένη Ζυμαράκη (2015). Sharon Core - Still life photography. [online] Ελένη Ζυμαράκη. Available at: http://elzimaraki.gr/sharon-core-still-life-photography/?lang=en (Links to an external site.).
1. Sharon Core - Early Americans - 2008
2. Sharon Core - 1610 - 2011
3. Steve Rabone - Beauty - 2021