Before I emulated Irving Penn, I tried to emulate Paul Cézanne for a photo assignment in my beginning photography class. I used Apples and Oranges as inspiration...
This generously-sized still life commanded my attention during a recent post-impressionist exhibit at the De Young Museum. I suddenly saw Paul Cézanne in a different light. This seemingly simple composition belies the complex use of geometry, colors, and negative space. But it was much more than the mechanics of this painting that bowled me over. The painter himself expressed it best:
“For an impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations”
Though I still have a lot to learn about lighting, I was reasonably happy with my first attempt. I used Still Life with Basket of Apples for my second try...
|Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Basket of Apples|
....but I thought is was considerably less successful.
I used the wrong perspective, the lighting was all wrong, I didn't have the right sized basket for the apples which threw off the balance, (can you hear the violins?) .... I felt my still life was generally lifeless. Things improved a tad when I added more visual weight on the left side. The lighting was better, but I saw too late that the photo was not properly framed and cropping is strictly forbidden for this assignment.