Pictures on Black

I have been experimenting with still-life photos of flowers and fruits, and I thought I was getting some good effects with a completely black background, like this one, using sunlight coming through the window as the light source and a sheet of black card as background.


The idea was to contrast the spring freshness and bright colours against the unreflecting black – a sort of memento mori. The problem with this one is the over-strong sunlight – I have since invested in studio lights, which will give more control.

I took these pictures before seeing an installation at the Barbican in London by the Iranian-born artist Shirana Shahbazi, who is way ahead of me. The installation consisted of huge wall paintings (apparently produced under her direction by painters of cinema posters) of flowers and fruit against a black background, with skulls to emphasise the message, and enormous portraits of a young woman – in all a beautiful and moving show.

© Shirana Shahbazi

There are more pictures on the Barbican website. There was also a book of her pictures, Meanwhile, which I enjoyed even more than the installation, and which includes several photographs along similar lines.

UPDATE 21/02/2013 Here’s a link to Shahbazi’s recent exhibition at New York MoMA

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