Research The Studio

Research large format camera. Cubism. Transparency Material. Platinum Palladium Printing.

Still Life Photographers

Josef Sudek

Jan Groover

Irving Penn

John Blakemore

Richard Caldicott

Robert Mapplethorpe

Paulette Tavormina

Paul Kenny

Albert Watson

‘Vanitas’ – style of painting – Balthasar Van Jer Ast

Photography – Photographers who were tremendously wealthy, were able to get involved in technological revolutions, they had their own studios because they were wealthy. In photography, they manipulated light in the same was as in paintings. The way light is used now, comes from those days.

When working in the studio, it is a good idea to photograph the studio setup on your mobile phone and add it to your blog.


  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Lighting
  • Lighting Attachments
  • Cables
  • Flash Meter
  • Remote Triggers for Lights
  • Hot Shoe Adapter
  • Sync Lead
  • Wireless Trigger

Medium format camera has a larger screwbit

Tripod is used for stability when shooting still life

Switch in down position for battery pack

*Bigger light source = softer shadows (less contrast)

*Smaller light source = harder shadows (more contrast)

THE INVERSE SQUARE LAW research for blog

*We do not use light to make an exposure

*We use light to create an image


Jan groover was a formalist photographer. She liked playing around with space and form.


To draw, paint or photograph people or objects to make them seem smaller or closer together than they really are.


Groover was inspired by the artists, Morandi, de Chico and Fra Angelicao and Cezanne’s painting of a lemon. She photographed dried flowers to which Groover later recalled, “They Were Disgusting”. Her husband, art critic Bruce Bois suggested she go to the kitchen sink and take a look around.

“everything was already there”: Jan Groover

“I pretended I was a painter, for a while. Almost as soon as I got out of school I started photographing. Photographing the history of photography, repeating lots of things. I was still pretending I was a painter, that way I could relax and make photographs, even make stupid photographs, and it didn’t matter. I didn’t have to take it too seriously….. And then one day I had the thought that I didn’t want to have to make everything up, so I quit painting. Then I found out that you have to make everything up anyway.” Jan Groover


The objects she photographed she looked at as objects with character, each had their own characteristics, and so she played around with form, space foreshortening. She wasn’t interested in the objects as such the form, shape and texture and how it worked together.

Uni Jan Groover

Michelle Ayers, 2015


Produce a body of studio based photography

Manage specialist equipment within the studio environment

Jan Groover

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All of these I uploaded from the Internet I was sat having coffee in a coffee shop racking my brains What can I do in the studio

After looking at Jan Groovers work it just occurred to me that I have lots of things I could use lying around the house. Whilst I like Jan Groovers still life work I haven’t experimented as yet. But it has definitely given me some ideas to get started.

Cutlery & Glass Cup in Sink Draining Board Fish Slice & Meat Fork Fish Slice B&W Glass Ashtray Glass Cup & Cutlery Kitchen Sink B&W Mugs & Glasses Sink Reflection Still Life, Dirty Dishes Studio, Dirty Cutlery Studio, Olive Oil


Michelle Ayers, 22nd November

Above is a photograph of a ladder in my kitchen. After arranging cutlery in my kitchen sink, I decided to take photographs of pots on my draining board. For this I needed to get above. The kitchen step I was using wasn’t high enough. I used the flash on my camera for this shoot, as this was my first proper still life shoot I realize I need to experiment with lighting and different reflectors.

I really really really really struggle with the studio. Working at home I feel more comfortable and nobody is around to interfere with my work.

Still Life, Dirty Dishes

Michelle Ayers, Mess, Sunday 22nd November

Here, my inspiration is from photographer Jan Groover. When in the studio, I do not feel confident. The thoughts of going in stresses me out. But at home, I found myself looking in cupboards and drawers for something to photograph.

I decided here, to photograph the dirty dishes my son had brought down from his bedroom. There is a lot of detail in this image, the tub of bertolli spread he uses, the aromatic salt and pepper he insists on putting on everything. He has brought them down and not bothered to clean his mess. Bits of sweet wrappings sticking out of the plates. Dirty knife on the board he’s used to spread his bread. Blue and white striped butter dish that isn’t used as much now because the butter gets too hard. In the background are various bottles of Spices, Olive Oil and Rapeseed Oil which I use when cooking rice.

Her triptychs are more interesting to me and I do have some images that reflect her work


Michelle Ayers October 2015


Michelle Ayers October 2015


Michelle Ayers October 2015


Michelle Ayers September 2015


Michelle Ayers October 2015


Michelle Ayers September 2015

The inspiration from different photographers is clearly evident when you look at these images However Jan Groovers  triptychs gave me the inspiration to put these together

I now need to concentrate on Studio Which I will base on Jan Groovers still life work


Worked with different contact sizes, glass negatives some of which were 40x70cm. He’d spend weeks in forests taking long exposures of the snow strewn scenery his ethereal Magic Garden body of work was taken in his friends (Otto Rottmayar) garden. he sprayed mist in front of the lens to achieve the mystical look

*Joseph Sudek collected keys for his studio where the vendor, artist Karel laube asked one question: “Why here? No one in their right mind will come to this place!”.

Sudek replied “Exactly”.


Born 1896 his work was divided between two periods, Romanticism & Modernism


He was injured during the first world war and his hand amputated. During the nineteen twenties he worked romantic Pictorialist style. He created haunting night-scapes and The Window of My Studio. He used an 1894 kodak Panorama camera, lens makes a negative 10cmx30cm. He used this format to produce his city scares. He always used large format cameras with no assistance despite his disability.



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Window Still Life 2

Michelle Ayers, Window, Still Life, Hartington Hall, 21st October


Michelle Ayers, Window, Hartington Hall, 21st October

Arabic Tea Bottle Oil Measure Glass Bottle Pimento Tin Turkish Coffee Cup Turkish Tea Glass

Michelle Ayers, Still Life, Sunday 22nd November





He worked out the norm, bleaching prints of his nudes, eliminating skin tone making them appear harsher. He taught himself how to print using platinum processes rather than silver. He was more concerned of the longevity of his prints.





Born in Coventry 1936. A self taught photographer known for documentary, portraiture and still life. He was know for his work with Tulips which were symbols of sensuality and elegance. His work has detail, texture and tonal richness. His Landscape photography was about ideas rather than the place.

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Contemporary artist, his images consisted of tupperware containers. His ink-jet paper prints are minimalistic, consisting of shapes which are vibrant in color. the transparency and Saturation gives him the freedom to produce large bodies of work.


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Michelle Ayers, Motion, Manchester, 10th October


Michelle Ayers, Motion, Manchester, 10th October


Michelle Ayers, Motion, Manchester, 10th October


Michelle Ayers, Motion, Manchester, 10th October


Michelle Ayers, Motion, Manchester, 10th October

These motion photo’s are my own interpretation of Richard Caldecott’s work. I have a passion for motion photography and the amazing abstract images you are able to produce from it.


He pushed the boundaries of his photography with somewhat controversial and explicit photographs. his work of male nudes were meant to depict honesty and truth, not to be shocking or obscene. He also photographed flowers, orchids and classical nudes.

“I don’t like that particular word ‘shocking’. I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before. I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them”. Robert Mapplethorpe 1988.


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Leila 2

Leila portrait



Photography was inspired by 17th century Dutch, Spanish  and Italian Old Master still life painters. Her images of ripe fruit and wilted flowers depict life and death.

“Still lives remind us of the passage of time, the preciousness of life

“I have long been drawn to the 17th Century Old Masters still life painters Giovanna Garzoni, Francesc0 de Zurbaran and Adriaen Coorte. I am particularly fascinated by Zurbaran’s mysterious use of dramatic light, Garzoni’s masterful compositions and color palette, and Coorte’s unique placement of objects”.


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Lamp Light

Michelle Ayers, Lamp Light, Sunday 22nd November


Abstract artist, he photographed sea water and rocks. Collecting objects and composites them into his studio creating a glass negative and scans into a computer. his ‘camera-less’ photography has won him praise and his place in the London Exhibition The Photographers.

“There’s no physical camera anymore;

“I use a glass photographic plate and repeatedly drop sea water onto it and allow it to dry to salt crystals before applying more water. Sometimes I might include stones or for one image I used a feather I’d collected. The idea is to try and find the awe-inspiring in something which is easily lost, something you would just walk past and not really notice”.


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Puddle reflection 2

Michelle Ayers, Puddle, 10th October

Puddle reflection

Michelle Ayers, Puddle, 10th October

Self Portrait 2

Michelle Ayers, Self Portrait, Hartington Hall, 21st October

Self Portrait

Michelle Ayers, Self Portrait, Hartington Hall, 21st October


“Your best skill as a photographer is not how you prepare the lighting or the setup, it’s how you communicate with people. It’s having good control over the subject, seducing them into a certain mood. I’ve studied a great deal, had a very good education in my craft, but a photographer’s best weapon is always going to be their own persona”.


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Portrait B&W

Michelle Ayers, Portrait, Manchester, 10th October

I have added this photo though I do not like it. It was poorly lit, I edited to Black and White, added a vignette to try and black out the background. I didn’t quite manage it however so it is one of my rejects. I needed a flash and tripod but I was in a busy cafe in manchester so couldn’t.


Manchester Bus Stop B&W

Michelle Ayers, Woman, manchester, 10th October

Chinese Girl B&W

Michelle Ayers, Chinese Girl, Manchester, 10th October

Girl with Phone B&W

Michelle Ayers, Girl with Phone, Manchester, 10th October

Fan 4

Fan 3

Fan 1

Fan 2

Abstract 9

Abstract 8

Michelle Ayers, Metal,

Notes for Martyn’s lecture





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