Set up a still-life with a background that is unfussy but not entirely plain. Use 6 – 10 similar sized objects, each compact in shape. Fix the camera firmly in one position, aimed down at the background (ideally, use a tripod.) The idea is to control the composition by rearrangement, not by changing the framing with the camera.
I didn’t want to photograph standard objects such as fruit or marbles etc so I decided on the contents of my handbag. They vary slightly in size – but not to the point where I think it hinders the exercise.
During the first few pictures I quickly noticed that object placement required more attention than I first though. It was not as simple as just placing objects here or there. As I added more objects, the visual grouping rapidy changed – so I decided to sketch each grouping as it changed throughout the exercise.
With these pictures the point of interest(s) is obvious. With 2 objects the grouping is minimal.
The dynamics of the visual grouping begin to change into triangular shapes.
This seemed to be a fairly mundane exercise at first, but I was amazed at how the objects created and changed their implied shapes/lines. As is shown in the final image – there are many different grouping arrangments of objects relating to oneanother, with several objects being used in different ‘shapes’. This exercise was very beneficial in that it has made me realise just how important composition is within still life photography.
All photos were taken using a relatively high f number (f13) so every object was in focus. If certain objects were more in focus than others it would have changed the overall composition by leading the eye towards the objects that were clearer than others.