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05-23-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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May, 2011 Winner: An Earthly Meal by Candlelight
Contest Number: 57 Contest Theme: Still Life Lens: SMC Pentax-DA 35mm Macro 2.8 Camera: Pentax K5 Shutter Speed: 1/4s Aperture: F22 

An Earthly Meal by Candlelight
I hope that the following explanation of this image may be of some interest to those interested in this genre, popular with Renaissance artists, particularly Dutch and Flemish masters. Still life in the vanitas style is full of symbolic imagery centred upon the futility and transcience of existence, although the genre sounds pretty depressing it can result in very interesting images that provide a lot of food for thought. My original ‘Earthly Meal’ still life featured a recently snuffed out candle, symbolic of the end of life, I decided to produce another version with the candle burning- this time not only to symbolise life and the passing of time but also of the Sun. The two round stones to the right, one grey and one with browns etc. are symbolic of the Moon and the Earth in an approaching total eclipse position. The broken egg symbolises birth with the dried flower representing the memory of youth. The skull , symbolic of death, is a fairly traditional element in vanitas still life, often a human one(!) but one of a bird will do just fine! The pewter tankard measure and bread is a straight forward reference to food and drink necessary for our existence. The pewter porringer (bowl), shell spoon and plate are again items symbolic of the things that are necessary for our journey through life and also our ingenuity in making them- a subtle reference to this is the prehistoric stone scraper tool located bottom left. The oak leaves blowing in from the dark exterior (the unknown that lies beyond) refer to the autumn of our existence.
Anyway, happy days!
Cheers, Gary

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06-07-2011, 07:37 PM   #2
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Your informative text made viewing this great photo an enriching experience! Thanks!! Really like how you did the lighting, too.
06-07-2011, 07:49 PM   #3
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I like it a lot.

How would one compose such a shot with modern artifacts?
06-07-2011, 08:01 PM   #4
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By the plaster wall and Wood timbers I'd say you have access to a historical building, museum or some such. What an excellent setting for a great still life.

People dont learn to think in terms of symbols like the used to (beside commercial logos etc). It seems almost occult now.

06-09-2011, 07:09 AM   #5
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Many thanks for your generous feedback, it really is very much appreciated. Chemtech- I'm glad my ramblings were of some help. Newarts- The idea of using modern artefacts to explore a similar concept is worth exploring- certainly got me thinking. Matt- The set was constructed from scratch using plasterboard, straw and filler together with two old kiln shelves and a couple of oak gatepost offcuts- I'm really pleased that they create the old building interior effect.
Cheers,
Gary

Last edited by gazart; 06-15-2011 at 12:07 PM. Reason: To make more sense!
06-19-2011, 02:17 AM   #6
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very nice picture
06-24-2011, 04:16 AM   #7
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Cheers Deckie !
06-24-2011, 12:59 PM   #8
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Congrats on the win!!


Adam
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06-27-2011, 01:56 AM - 1 Like   #9
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A big thank you to all of you that voted for my entry- most appreciated.
Cheers, Gary Hickin
07-05-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
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Great capture mate. Well done
07-05-2011, 01:31 PM   #11
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very interesting, the use of symbolic language...really not anymore to find in this rushed-up world
thanks for sharing this painting-like picture
07-05-2011, 01:37 PM   #12
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Gary, I am just browsing your album Still life and it is amazing! thank You sir
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