Harold Davis [Still Life]

  • Harold Davis is an American photographer and author.

Davis’ style switches between photographing close-ups of flowers, bugs, sea animal and water droplets to landscapes of the night, the sea, cities, and mountains to portraits as well.

I have been looking at Davis’ still life images of flowers and rain droplets (he photographs other objects like Slinky’s, Marbles, Shells, bugs and skulls) all that have been photographed close-up; he captures the detail in small objects that most people would not usually look at or they know it’s there but never bother to look. To me; some of his images seem almost abstract and they take sometime to work out what they are and what else is in the image besides the main subject, some of his flower images are sometimes of the stem or leaves of the flower – which just goes to show that any part of a flower is beautiful.

Some of his still life work is usually made both outside; using natural lighting, or in a studio, using studio lights and a light box.

In his studio work he places flowers on top of a light box to get pure white backgrounds and also has a light in front of the subjects (so he doesn’t get a silhouette), light comes though the petals at makes them look like they are glowing. He shoots straight down onto the image from above, sometimes this work is all arranged by hand before photographing, while other times he makes eight exposures (then later on he uses Photoshop to layer the images together). A couple of his images that have been photographed like this have had their backgrounds changed later on with a warm coloured paper (which he scans and replaces the background in Photoshop).

Davis has even made a series where he’s changed the background to black! so instead of the flowers having a white glow with a white background, the flowers have a black background with a black ‘glow’ shining though the petals. Having a black background gives a different feel to it, I feel the black background makes it more dramatic and stand out more, where as a white background makes the flowers seem purer (however after having a closer look the colour of the flowers with the black backgrounds seem to look transparent and odd and unreal, some of them look like negative colours).

I’m not too sure which method I prefer myself, I think the colour of the background could depend on which flowers Davis chooses. I’d really like to try this out in my own shoots and explore my own style.

I was drawn to the bright colours and the detail captured in the images; and it just goes to show that the simplest things can be the most beautiful – the dreamy lighting and light behind the petals make them glow and it intensifies the beauty in the subjects. 

  • Research for still life idea “Flowers/Plants or fruit: Close-up of them, experiment with angels and unusual shots.”


Please see more images from the following sites:

All images used belong to © Harold Davis




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