Assignment 5: Still Life


Matt Bush: Vanity


This photo is a Themed Collection with the theme of "Vanity". I took the traditional symbols of vanity--mirror, comb, jewels, coins, purse--and replaced them with what I thought of as masculine, 21st-century equivalents--iPhone in front-facing camera mode, razor, sunglasses, cash, luxury car keys, and more.

To an extent I tried to make the classic "skull" appear, by having the sunglasses and phone be the eye holes (rather self-referentially), and the keys be the nose hole. I had to do a lot of burning and dodging of shadows to get this effect, and it still is incomplete. Besides the skull, I arranged the rest of the elements to achieve color balance--the tan of the protein bar and jeans logo patch across from each other, the blue of the razor and the American Express logo, etc.

Background: I used Levi's jeans as the background since denim is often seen as a sexualized, yet masculine fabric, fitting with the theme. This conveniently allowed me to stick some of the items in pockets, which looked natural and fitting.

Lighting: I lit the scene with two spot lights from the front, at angles, so there weren't any completely shadowed areas.

I took the photo from above the scene and had to do a handheld shot with high ISO; with multiple shots, one of them came out clear enough to use. I cropped, color-balanced, denoised, burned/dodged, and sharpened the photo in Photoshop.

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