Monochrome Still Life Photography

Monochrome photography is the use of only one color and its shades in a frame. It is usually associated with black and white or sepia or cyanotype photography, but is not limited to it. A black and white photo is always a monochrome photo, while a monochrome photo is not always black and white. 

Monochrome in photography provides an opportunity to heighten the viewer’s emotions and evoke new feelings. Using one color can help to focus on the main subject, visually removing everything unnecessary and distracting. Using a more deliberate composition in monochrome photography can increase the effect of the picture.

When we talk about monochrome photography, we think of portraits and landscapes, but this technique can also be applied to still life photography. Let’s take a look at a few examples of still lifes where photographers have moved away from the usual representation of objects and focused on their color.

Still Life Photography By Alena Golden

Alena Golden is an artist and the author of photographs featuring food and drinks. Each of her shots is taken in a specific color palette: pink, yellow, or green.The artist uses only one color in her photos, while paying attention to the textures of the objects in the frame and the composition. Alena Golden masterfully combines props in her photos, perfectly matching items by color. Her photographes are mesmerizing and eye-catching. In her work, Alena claims, she creates and explores the hypnotic impact of color and composition in still life photography and tries to arouse some particular emotion into the spectator.

‘Yellow still life with flowers, apples and melon’ Copyright: Alena Golden 
‘Lilac’ Copyright: Alena Golden

“Black On Black” Photography Project By Elena Otvodenko

Elena Otvodenko’s series of photographs is called ‘Black on Black’. She chose this particular color for her photos because black is one of the rarest colors in nature. And though the viewer may get the impression that this is a black and white photo, Elena deliberately avoids this, showing natural colors of objects in the frame. The photos remain focused on the interaction of light and shadow, contrast and texture of objects. Her work is an engaging visual articulation of contemporary experience, using aesthetics to highlight the significance of simple everyday things. Elena combines objects in an original way and elevates them to the realm of art. This series of artworks by Elena has been awarded prestigious prizes.

‘Black on Black’, photo #1 Copyright: Elena Otvodenko
‘Black on Black’, photo #2 Copyright: Elena Otvodenko

As you can see, monochrome photography is one interesting technique in still life photography. Using a particular color for monochrome photos can apply mood and narrative to an image. It also gives you the opportunity to convey more emotion, to play with light, contrast and endless shades of one color. A successful monochrome still life photo requires a strong composition that focuses on details, such as patterns, angles, lines, objects and their shapes and textures. 

Maria Lewis

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