Urban still life 4

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Greg Neville, urban still life, 2014

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Greg Neville, urban still life, 2014

“Still life is a genre of art depicting mostly inanimate objects, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made. Still life gives the artist more freedom in the arrangement of elements within a composition than other genres such as landscape” (- from Wikipedia).

Nothing in that definition rules out these photographs, but they’re clearly not “still lifes” as the term is normally used. Still life is the depiction of arranged objects, so composition is usually a big part of it. And composition is the game of these photographs. They’re an attempt to make viable photographs of the urban environment which work as composition exercises. The chaotic world of things out there occasionally presents itself to the camera ready to be captured. You need to be watching, and to be prepared to find the exact right position in space for your camera.

The objects in these urban still lifes are the normal stuff of the urban world, loading bays, wire fences, dump bins etc, unappealing in themselves except when they group themselves together and pose for the camera. They don’t mean anything, the pleasure is pure visual.

In contrast to other visual mediums such as drawing and painting, photography is about selection. There’s an infinite changing world of stuff out there and you have to draw a line around a small piece of it, a rectangle or a square. As a definition of photography, that will do for now.

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Greg Neville, urban still life, 2014

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Greg Neville, urban still life, 2014

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