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  • stevenrabone

Informing Contexts - The Good The Bad & The Beauty

I wanted to start this post with a short statement that encapsulates my current intent and reflect on the current visual strategies that I am using to develop this work. This is effectively my statement of intent, the elevator pitch for my current practice and work in progress.

I also then intend to show a couple of images from this work, one that has been successful and one that has not made the final cut.

Statement of Intent

Through the medium of still life I am exploring what a photograph is, how it is viewed and the relationship it has to the compositional qualities and intent of a painting.

Beauty - Steve Rabone -2021

My aim is to create a series of images that have an aesthetic of beauty, the trace of reality whilst retaining an element of ambiguity.

As Susan Sontag states, ' a photograph is not only an image, as a painting is an image, an interpretation of the real, it is also a trace of something directly stencilled off the real'. So I want my photographs to show this trace of reality.

Through the use of specific objects, poetry and accompanying triptychs the viewer is given a moment of still to reflect on the meaning and feeling evoked by each image.

* * *

With the production of this work now coming to an initial conclusion, as part of the Informing Contexts module, I have decided that the best way to disseminate this work will be in a book format. This will initially be as a digital book but will likely evolve into a more formal physical book in due course. This will enable me to place the images in the order that I would prefer they are viewed but also ensures the triptych and poetry are given equal space to be seen and appreciated.

Looking at the body of work in my portfolio I have been really pleased with the final set of images that I have produced. There are so many successful images, such as the following one.

Devoted - Steve Rabone - 2021

On its own this image appears just that, an image of some lilies set against a dark background. As the viewer you may appreciate the beauty of the flowers, the fine detail and the composition of the bouquet but does it give you anything else.

However when it is viewed with the triptych of macro photos and introduced with the line of poetry:

'We are separated by what ties us together'

The image is brought to life. The poetry is sufficiently ambiguous, but leads the viewer to the title of the image, Devoted, which is a reference to the fact that early western art saw the lily as a symbol of love and devotion.

Comparing this with the following image that I have now removed from my final work in progress portfolio.

Destruction - Steve Rabone - 2021

The intent with this one was to portray the fallen brick as a metaphor for the destruction of nature by man, but that nature will fight back. The pomegranate seeds representing vitality and rebirth, again a reference back to early Christian art.

The rationale for now excluding this image from my work in progress was based on the following.

  1. Compositionally it feels too busy, the subject fills the frame and does not give the viewer the chance to reflect on the scene, it overwhelms them.

  2. The image is too literal and whilst there are a number of meanings that can be taken from it, I did not feel there was sufficient ambiguity in it.

  3. When put together with other more successful images in the portfolio this one had less impact and I did not feel it expressed the right level of technical skills that I have with a camera.


Sontag, S. (2003). Regarding the pain of others. London: Penguin Books Ltd.


Beauty - Steve Rabone - 2021

Devoted - Steve Rabone - 2021

Devoted Triptych - Steve Rabone - 2021

Destruction - Steve Rabone - 2021


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