April 6, 2007
Perhaps it's the vestigial art historian in me, but I love still lives with fruit. I like them precisely because they are so mundane. Artists have been attempting them for something like 3000 years and so often they fail which is why a good one jumps off the wall.
'Portraits of fruit' as I refer to them were one of the first impulses of photographers. Daguerre himself took many. For the next hundred years most photographic still lives were primarily lush 'our bounty overfloweth' type images taken by painter/photographers like Roger Fenton (the image at the beginning of this post is one of his from 1860) or vanitas of decay (again usually taken by photographers schooled as painters).... After almost 100 years of this the surrealists finally punched life back into the form starting in the late 20's.
(In my fantasy art collection I would own this little Man Ray peach from 1931)
Anyway this is all a long winded way of saying making an interesting still life is a tough artistic challenge so when I see one I like, I immediately pay attention. Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky has a series of still lives taken in her freezer. She says the images "to show the condition things are in when they are photographed," but I read them as vanitas. She lives in Holland—so definitely vanitas whether she knows it or not. For me they = instant happy.