Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Still Life)

23 May 2016


I. Taken in Camera+ and edited in iColorama

Serpentine, Dogpatch, San Francisco; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Serpentine, Dogpatch, San Francisco; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Taken in Camera+ and edited in iColorama

2. Serpentine, Dogpatch, San Francisco; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Serpentine, Dogpatch, San Francisco; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Let me know which you prefer. Click on image to enlarge, which takes you to another page. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


On my maternal side there are thick and thin threads of artistic talent and creative expression in the visual and literary arts–both professional and self-made. Those undeniable tendencies have been emboldened and filtered through my life along a myriad of paths. One of those is realized in travel adventures where I emphatically seek venues that feature art in public and non-public places as well as artists in their studios.

My recent trip to San Francisco is a prime example of this influence. Intentions are to be fulfilled, not to be simple imagined. During these adventures I sought to see and meditate upon an ambitious amount of arts-related experiences. That can include design, media, and images in various forms (culinary arts is an example).

This trip was bountiful and gave me much to absorb, digest and ponder. But also to dream about experimentation being realized. Regardless of the art form the “seeing” provides a myriad of ideas that can spark illumination: inspiration to be sure.

I was able to venture to places that were either envisioned or planned or serendipitous, including the: de Young (museum), Legion of Honor (museum), Minnesota Street Project, Museum Craft Design, murals of the Mission District, a Diego Rivera mural, and much much more. Street art is plentiful and is its own category to notice.

Still, art can be found anywhere. During my lunch in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco, the restaurant where I dined for my midday meal had artists’ work on display. But what caught my eye was a still life to the left of where I sat. Its eloquent arrangement was too alluring to ignore. Its vintage quality was re-enforced by the factory-like interiors.

Creativity and its results is a vital human ritual that enriches my world and offers countless soulful adventures and treasures. To contemplate and muse about humanity’s ability to be an image-maker is a deeply philosophical conundrum.

Why are some people inherently artistic, while others stumble upon it? Or gradually drift into its possibilities. Or fixate upon the creative process to the exclusion of everything else. Or…

My mother, for example, knew as a child that she wanted to be an artist; she had a passionate inner cry to explore her creative self. Still there’s always a time in the human condition to discover our artistic side, better at some point than never to attempt this mode of life-affirming self-expression, life-affirming enrichment and life-affirming nourishment.

Tip of the Day:

“Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” Edward Weston

“I see no reason for recording the obvious.” – Edward Weston

“…so-called ‘composition’ becomes a personal thing, to be developed along with technique, as a personal way of seeing.” Edward Weston

Edward Weston (1886-1958) was a master of twentieth-century photography. He is most known for his interpretation of the American West, nudes, sand dunes, and abstraction of the everyday. But I am especially enamored by his still-life studies. In 1936 he became the first photographer to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, which gave him the opportunity to expand his experimental work. Along with luminaries such as Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Sonya Noskowiak, he created the Group f/64. Truly, Weston’s subject was life itself–its nuances and wonders. To view an article about Weston that was  published 18 August 2010, click here. It’s part of Sean O’Hagan’s “on photography” column in The Guardian. Also to read his bio and view more of his work, click here. Below see a singular cabbage leaf as captured by Weston in 1931, proving that the staging of the everyday can be a sensational still life of sweeping eloquence and style.

Cabbage-Leaf, 1931, Edward Weston

Cabbage-Leaf, 1931, Edward Weston

View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.

If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Design, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Still Life)

  1. Both, though the green vase catches the eye in #1.

  2. RMW says:

    Reading through the comments it seems most prefer number one. I am sure that is truer to the real colors. But the second ones becomes a little more abstract, which I like. And the purplish walls contrast with the green vase. And the wall parallel to the vase has become white which which draws the eyes to the vase.

  3. MJF Images says:

    I absolutely love his work. Thanks for reminding me!

  4. nenny says:

    Beautiful photo.

  5. I prefer the first one as colour and details are preserved. Thanks for the tip onThe Guardian photography column. I have it loading now.

  6. Su Leslie says:

    Sally, so often our concerns and thoughts are in snych. You have expressed so eloquently the things I feel about art. I like both edits of your shot, but prefer the first for the warmth and slightly greater clarity. It is a beautiful study in finding art all around us. Cheers, Su.

  7. Nato says:

    I think I prefer the first one because I can still see the details of the white petals. It is an interesting point about people who are born knowing they are an artist or those who fall into it. Either way, it seems to call to their soul.

  8. As always captivating and strong images. My favourite this time is the first one. I like the warmer tone, feels to right for the subject. Great Weston quotes, by the way.

  9. Maria F. says:

    Both still life have great composition.

  10. Gallivanta says:

    They are both lovely; it’s a pleasure to encounter such beauty.

  11. Angeline M says:

    Lovely photo, both, Sally. I wonder who else in that restaurant saw the beauty in the arrangement and its placement…definitely the person who arranged and put it there, and artist also. Thanks so much for the links to the additional Weston information; his work I enjoy very much in the photography world.

  12. restlessjo says:

    The first one, Sally, please. It’s softer, to my eyes. 🙂
    Funny where creativity comes from. My camera has become an extension of my arm and I get so much pleasure from seeing the world through its lens.
    Have a happy and creative week!

  13. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I am drawn by the warmth of the colors in the first photo. It adds a counterpoint to the cold hard concrete that we are so familiar with and it transports me to a place that I want to visit for myself.

  14. The textures of the first one fascinate me the most. I like how you used iColorama.
    I remember seeing one of Weston son’s exhibits of LA houses and shadows years ago that stuck with me for it’s simplicity of power.
    Happy Monday

  15. Sally, I love your Weston quotes and both your photos. I began by preferring the first, but I now can’t decide. 🙂 Nothing unusual there. I like the idea of making the usual unusual, something I try to do with my photos. Anyway, I’m off to get on with the business of living, so I’ll wish you a wonderful day and week and get to it.


    • Janet, let’s have a soothing cup of tea to start the afternoon. Thanks for your comment.

      • I am having a cup, Sally, and hope you are as well. Just taking a break from going through spices/herbs/things on shelves, getting rid of old seasonings, cleaning, and putting things away again. This time I’m also making a list of what’s where for the things in the basement, so I can tell if I have what I need for a recipe without having to go through a pile of “stuff.”

      • Janet, true spring house cleaning.

  16. Amy says:

    The angle you took is great! I like both, beautiful colors and texture. 🙂

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