Window Story

Posted on Aug 10, 2009 - 64 comments -

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So most of you thought that there is no need to 'look up' for your photo-language - You think it will emerge eventually. Well, point taken :)

Back to the photo above. I don't usually take such still-life photos. I love taking photos of people, I find more joy in the little Homo-sapiens nuances, but sometimes a good still photo might have a very strong impact.

One of such photos is by my favorite photographer (and my favorite blog of the week) - Nils Jorgensen. Here are two example for his genius 'photo-eye' - 'Closed' and 'World within a world' (advised to go over his gallery. Really inspiring stuff).

The first one ('Closed') struck me of how something so simple, so mundane, can be also so clever and strong. I honestly don't know if I would "see" something like this.

Do you have such 'still-life' photos, photos that had a real impact on you?
Please link then in your comment - Whether it's your own, or by other photographer.

Also, I would like to thank Ron (@rtd13) for featuring me on "The Weekly Bzzzzz"!

There has been 64 Responses to 'Window Story' so far

  1. Si says:

    I find myself doing these kinds of shots all the time. Maybe that says something about me... You can sometimes find something amazingly beautiful in the angle of a wall or shadow. I often find it in my own pictures and its inexplicable - perhaps it only works for me, perhaps not. What do u think -

  2. yz says:

    great mood

  3. beanow says:

    Ilan! This is beautiful, fabulous capture!

  4. Matt Sanderson says:

    Awesome lighting - care to share some more details? Be interested to know.

  5. Fritsch says:

    What a great picture, Ilan. And you proved that you see the clever & strong things in the mundane & simple still-life.
    What makes your picture amazing is how the light of the lamp & the flowers correspond with each other. This is kind of philosophical, my friend. Well seen & captured! I think that the biggest challenge is the simplicity. And here's my still-life photo for you, buddy: one legged man
    All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.

  6. Asaf Karagila says:

    Firstly, the name "Homo Sapiens" is the correct form, the final `s' is not as a plural, but a part of the name.

    The photo itself can be interpreted in many ways actually.
    One could suggest that it says that you are wilting from the inside, and on the outside you're setting up a wall. The other could argue the other way around -- that you are decadent and numb on the outside, killing everything that is alive on the surface but within you there is life.

    Myself, however, despite seeing these sort of ideas, I prefer to look at it from my own point of view and see the geometry that is appealing and to assume that it was shot "by accident" and reflects a general mood, aesthetically speaking.

    As for my own still life, you already know them and where to find more. Unlike you, I mostly enjoy photographing people when they are a distant shadow. A subset of the space, but not its essence.

  7. Liang says:

    wow what a shot here ilan! this window has so many engaging stories to tell, it shows it with all the elements surrounding it.

  8. namaki says:

    nice still life and thank you for the links ...

  9. cara says:

    I really love this shot. Love the architectural details, the mood created by the dark grey stone, the texture of it, the mystery of the light inside, the bare bulb, the symbolism of one red tulip bulb against this stark background. Fascinating.
    I find shots like this much more interesting than people shots, and in fact, take very few photos of people... not even my own kid/family. Will have to branch a little and experiment.

  10. martie says:

    I am glad you decided to break from your tradition and take this one of the window. We normally look through a window - not over it. And yet you did and captured this beautiful image. Well done!!

  11. Stevo says:

    I saw this on flickr. Great capture. Completely stunning.

  12. Kevin says:

    I am definitely with you in that in general, I enjoy taking photos of people moreso than objects or still life shots, but taking the time to practice still life is immensely helpful (not to mention a good change of pace). For me, it helps bring me back to the basics of focusing on composition, lighting, and color (or tonalities if it's b+w). Just as eating too much of a good thing can be too rich, I think your creative eye needs variety to see originality. The plants in your photo are a little "sad" looking, but I am really drawn to the light inside the room and the hint of shadows of the objects it's illuminating.

  13. sherri says:

    This is more than just a still life. It's like three images. A street scene, the plants, and that intriguing light inside. I like it.

  14. IVar says:

    This is awesome... fantastic mood depending on how you look at it... The plants in the window wiht the lit lamp inside.. very nice work

  15. Pierre says:

    La lampe et la fleur ont la même forme :)
    L'étiquette sur la vitre rappel le petit panneau près de la fenêtre.

  16. AB says:

    Nice shot - as ever. I like the way the light and the plant nod in the same fashion.

  17. TIM TOPPLE says:

    gorgeous - and good to see you posting outside your comfort zone...

  18. Marcie says:

    Oh...I absolutely love the color..the light..the mood you've seen and captured here. Yes - I have found myself loving unexpected 'still life images' as well:

  19. silvermikan says:

    Very nice composed. So cool.

  20. Laurens Kuipers says:

    Nice shot Ilan! The lamp completes it!

  21. Harry says:

    I love doors and windows and have many shots on my blog. But to point to two of my still lifes, I choose Whisk at and Tow chain at

  22. Andy says:

    Wow really nice still life. Love the stone surrounding the window and how you can just barely see inside because of the single light bulb.

  23. Mario says:

    Very nicely seen matching shapes between the flower and the lamp.
    Superb composition. I love it!

  24. daina says:

    Marvelous clarity and depth and the textures and their movement across the frame are very satisfying. But most of all I like the correspondence between the single flower and the single light bulb inside. That of course could be read very symbolically. I thoroughly enjoyed Asaf Kargila’s comment because he addresses the various ways of interpretation according to what we want to read into something and how often one’s “interpretation” speaks more of oneself rather than the interpreted. Sort of like “Varieties of Religious Experience.” :} And I also tend to focus more on the aesthetics than the symbolic possibilities which are myriad according to one’s breadth of imagination or lack of it.

  25. Arjan - PlasticDaisy says:

    Amzing how clear this image is! The light outside is so bright but still you managed to show some of the interior. That lamp is just superb.

  26. Franck says:

    Very poetic ! Like a great painter ...

  27. Mohammadreza says:

    very beautiful framing ...

  28. Ken says:

    I like the natural framing and repetition of curves.
    I am particularly fond of this image of mine which contrasts the bottled living against the urban (dead) setting.

  29. Cyndy says:

    This is fantastic =)

    love the concept..everything worked out great... =)

  30. Rhys Baker says:

    this is a very strong and poetic image, you could ramble on about symbolism and philosophy etc. but Its just a damn beautiful picture. Superb

  31. a.h.lex says:

    what could i say to this photo? is it strong? yes! has it a little philosophical frame of the background with a nice lamp and funny flowers? yes!
    I love this photo! So, have a nice day.

  32. Marisol Risakotta says:

    I admire the tonal range reach between highlights and shadows in your image… it's very well balanced. Can't help wondering how you manage to achieve that… :)

    It's a very pleasing image to look at. It does not tire. Great textures and composition!

    Nils Jorgensen has indeed an awesome eye for the details that make an image 'talk' by itself. Great tittles to them too. Great work indeed!
    Can't see the flickr links you provide though cause flickr is having the 'hickups' at the moment so right now I also cant comply to you request to share the image of mine that is coming to mind when seeing this one of yours. Maybe later.

  33. Ståle says:

    What exceptionally elegant use of different light. The bulb in the background, the sun highlighting the two flowerpots and the downplayed tones on the grey wall. I also like the way the red flower and the light bulb tilts the same way and the striking fullness of life the two plants give because of the lifeless surroundings. I really like this hsot. There's so much in it.

  34. Kamal says:

    beautiful use of ambient and artificial light. and it is funny somehow that the tulip bends like the lamp inside the room. great framing! thanks for sharing.

  35. Sandy says:

    I really like that photo. I know I have some and if I happen to come across them, I will post or link them.

  36. Alex says:

    Una muy buena compo la que has logrado con esas macetas y esa ventana, tras de ella una historia.

  37. bluechameleon says:

    This is such a wonderful shot Ilan! I really love the colour, the red of the flower so strong with those warm tones in the background. What really struck me about this image though was the way the flower and the lamp inside are in the same position, mirroring each other.

    It takes a good eye and an observant person to spot a scene such as this, and this may not be one of your 'typical' shots that we are used to seeing, the the cleverness of it is you all the way!

    The links to Nils' images and blog are appreciated!

  38. Walter Neiger says:

    I love the connection between the flower and the lamp ... nice shot.

  39. Soe says:

    Great Capture, Ilan! The window made it look like a picture framed and hung... love the framing..

  40. Pied Crow says:

    Hard to find more nice things to say after skimming above comments, but I agree, this is a nice shot. Doors and windows make great photos, I think because of the formal element -- framing the frame -- and their very human scale. As for this, the flowers and the lamp, the repetition of the sticker shape, the great color...nice!

  41. SD (Aspherical) says:

    Very nice, I love how you used the stone of the building to frame the shot and direct attention to the light and the flower pots.

  42. Kayode Okeyode says:

    Love the framing and the light as well

  43. navin says:

    Very nice shot, excellent composition. I can't help but notice the likeness of the light bulb and the flower outside.

  44. pixeltoko says:

    beautiful tones here the plants come out very well.

  45. PixeLuz says:

    A still life, but we can also feel a human presence inside, because of the lamp on. And, as already mentioned, the shapes of the lamp and the flower make this "window" unique.

  46. jo says:

    I like how the light bulb and the flower seemed to be hanging their 'heads ' low, in the same sort of bent manner. Well seen, and thanks for the link to Nils, what a great recommendation.

  47. Belizarie says:

    Exquisite !

  48. Elaine- says:

    awww it's pretty, i used to take nothing but still life photos coz i didn't take good people shots, but now i take more people... just found you on twitter :)

  49. Omar says:


  50. Mario ISO101 says:

    Nice shot!
    I like this light inside the room, and this rose at the front... great!

  51. One says:

    Outstanding! A wonderful composition! Excellent play of light, very well done !

  52. Anna says:

    Amazing, and thanks for sharing links Ilan. Anna :)

  53. cuentosbrujos says:

    Different illuminations and different from this picture are the secret of her magic, I've liked.
    saludos compañero

  54. cuentosbrujos says:

    Different illuminations and different from this picture are the secret of her magic, I've liked.
    saludos compañero

  55. joshi daniel says:

    this is very interesting! you have captured two different lighting in one frame, the light of the bulb and the outdoor natural light. also liked how the flower and the bulb is placed.

  56. João André Farinha says:

    This photo is absolutely amazing. The "repetition" of shape bewtween the lamp and the flower works really well. I would actually crop a little tighter around the window, but this is one of the very best photos I've seen recently. Great eye!

  57. lisaschaos says:

    I love it! I feel I am peeking into someone else's world for a bit. :)

  58. Doum says:

    Superb contrast on the different layer; wow for the against the light ambiance inside the room. Bonne semaine.

  59. T and S says:

    Truly awesome shot, congratulations Ilan

  60. pando says:

    Simple and beautiful!

  61. Turnbill says:

    As sherri said - three photos in one - a great study in multi-layering of subjects. Bonus is how tulip mimics the lamp. Very good!

  62. Robert Kruh says:

    This is beautiful shot and story :) Congrats my friend!

  63. The Factory says:

    I love the dark light (a bit too to see what's in), the mystery and the contrast of the flowers...
    I react to what you said: sometimes you can capture the trace people left, which is sometimes even more interesting than the people themselves... and t's not still life... French poet Mallarmé explains that. Here for exemple, the absence of people tells more than the people.
    I often use this:

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