Still Life with Bible by Michael Jackobo
As an exercise in the photography class we had to replicate a still life painting in the studio. My choice was Van Gogh’s “Still life with Bible”.
I don’t really like still lifes because although they are a good way to practice composition and colour theory, I feel they are just that, practice tools that don’t have many more things to offer as an art form (I can already hear my History of Art teacher yelling…). So, when we were assigned this exercise, I immediately began to think how could I do it in a way that was suitable for me.
The first thing I excluded was the use of fruits as they are the most pointless subject in the modern world! After a somewhat quick search -and many fruit paintings- I found this relatively unknown painting by van Gogh, which was perfect for my criteria. I felt it was perfect for me because I already had this Bible, which is a copy of an old manuscript, so I could give a personal touch to the photo while staying faithful to the original.
I used two lights, one on the left as the key light and one extremely diffused from above to fill the shadows. The original painting has a rather strange perspective so I used a wide angle lens to bring a bit of distortion to the final result. The dialog with the teachers during the presentation was hilarious:
(I hadn’t mentioned who the original artist was)
Teacher: Although the painting is rather mediocre, the photograph is great.
Me: The painting is a Van Gogh!
This article has been submitted to the Daily Post challenge Life Imitates Art