Lighting Through a Window: People in Still Life in a Style of 1600s Dutch Painters

February 27, 2016 - photo frame

The Amaizing Crazy

A few months ago we was operative on putting together a still life fire with a illusory stylist and a crony of mine, Kiki Tse. She had come adult with this pleasing thought for a shoot: to paint a chairman in a still life context by a use of some of their personal effects.

To know someone’s possessions; to see a maritime draft from their grandad; an talisman with a print of their late sister though ever saying a face to insert this comment to invites a spectator to form their possess comment abandoned of settlement of background, race, age or earthy appearance.

Aesthetically we motionless to take change from a aged Dutch Master still life painters circa 1600. It only so happened that my partner had an muster in Amsterdam a few weeks before a fire and a gallery we were staying with were kind adequate to lend us their museum passes for a day. It was a ideal storm, so naturally we spent a time in a Rijksmuseum, we saw Vermeers and Rembrandts though my categorical seductiveness was destined towards a still life painters.

I spent time study Heda’s implausible digest of lead objects, and Claesz outpost Dijek’s unblemished facsimile of excellent fact and depth.



Along with Bollongier, Claesz and even Pieter De Hooch’s solemn delivery of Dutch interiors we arrange to know a one thing that tied all these painters together.


For me what tied all these masters together was their delivery of lighting, a ideal illustration of a cold frail northern light sprawling opposite a house and a objects within. Always from a window during a distant left, high adult from a list on that objects were placed.


The reflections in a glassware and lead objects tell all there is to know about a illusory source of a light.

Amsterdam - Rijksmuseum 1885 - The Gallery of Honour (1st Floor) - Still Life with Fruit, Nuts and Cheese 1613 by Floris outpost Dijck_crop

A week or so after I’m operative on plcae opposite town, there was a tube strike that day and a whole city belligerent to an ungainly halt. Getting behind home to a studio was a calamity and it meant holding a opposite track to a opposite sight station. we finished adult slicing opposite some outworn severe land behind some aged warehouses nearby a studio, it is raining and murky though there fibbing on a ground, roughly glowing, with some damaged joist was half a doorway with a window in it.

So we took a half door, used it to defense off a sleet and walked a rest of a approach home. Before we found a half doorway we had skeleton to make a conformation of a window out of polyboards and card for a fire though this was like attack gold.

On a morning of a fire we built a support out of some throw timber, to reason a window during a good operative tallness of about 5 feet.


I intentionally didnt purify a potion and draped a pleated square of muslin behind it to supplement hardness to a light.


Polyboards and froth house were total on a sides, tip and bottom of a window structure to dwindle any light that would differently brief over into a shot shortening contrariety and spoiling a effect.

I used dual 1200w studio heads to unequivocally punch by a muslin and light a list from a stretch while still permitting a good plain f/14 during ISO 100. One conduct was diffused by a vast softbox, a other a true open dish. This multiple feels like a object violation by on a misty day. The shiver speed was 1/160s, operative with peep indoors means a shiver speed needs to be discerning adequate to not let any wandering light bearing into a image, while staying next a camera’s limit peep sync speed. In existence anything between 1/60 and 1/200 would be fine, depending on a ambient light in a studio.


The choice of F-stop here was a change of 3 categorical factors; exposure, abyss of margin and sharpness. Looking behind to a aged masters they had no emanate with digest all on their list in focus, so we did a same. This gave me dual options, f/14 or f/16, any reduce and a abyss of margin would start to remove vicious sharpness on a objects farthest from a focal point. Any aloft and a whole picture would noticeably alleviate due to diffraction errors. The bearing was crash on a income during f/14 with a window lights during full power, that was a determining factor.


Also a snoot and a several grids were total on 400w and 600w heads to subtly prominence and collect out certain objects on a list and to fill any shadows that forsaken too low. In a shot with a orange credentials froth house was also used to dwindle and figure a light descending on a background.

The Alabama

The Alabama

The Amazing Crazy

The Amazing Crazy

Entry10210_David Wilman_The Amaizing Crazy_crop

The Traveler

The Traveler

_The Traveller_crop

The Delicate

The Delicate

The Delicate_crop

The Carer

The Carer

Now don’t get me wrong, we adore operative with accessible light and illumination though with this setup we could fire prolonged after sundown, with a same formula each shot. It gave us a illumination demeanour with a trustworthiness and coherence of studio lighting.

A integrate of months after we was doing an initial fire with Margot Pasquier during Squad Management and makeup artist Zoe Arena. Near a finish of a day we brought a window in to give a cinematic feel to a gritty, capricious black and white shoot.


This time a window support was placed a prolonged approach behind in a studio, illuminated from several feet behind by a 2.4k container and conduct with a tiny plate reflector. The increasing stretch between a conduct and a window total with a smaller indicate of start of a light source has a outcome of raised a conformation of a support into a set.

About a author: David Wilman is a conform and still life photographer formed in London, England. You can find some-more of his work on his Instagram, website, and Facebook.

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