Every now and again I shoot an abstract or still life. Not with any kind of premeditation; sometimes the opportunity is just there.
This still life was taken in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires. It is a popular tourist attraction because of the Bohemian atmosphere, arts and crafts, outdoor lunch with tango shows and the over-the-top brightly coloured buildings. I’m certain the distinctive look of the place started as a deliberate cultural statement by the local inhabitants, but it is now locked into that look, more as a museum to keep the tourists coming.
I’m not certain whether this counts as a great work of still life, probably not, but I do have a certain fondness for it. For a still life to be successful, it needs to keep things simple: don’t have too many shapes or colours, avoid confusing or distracting backgrounds, look for a composition which makes some kind of bold statement with a few simple shapes while creating a sense of balance. I think I managed to do that, bearing in mind that I had to take the subject matter as I found it. The bag (which belongs to my wife and was the only item we added into the scene) is neutral, everything else is red or green and the colours are reasonably well balanced. Background is half block of red, half block of green. The main shapes are either rectangles or triangles, from the spiral staircase. The foliage provides a diagonal to draw the eye towards the bag in the lower right foreground. It all seems to work and balance out. What a shame though I didn’t spot and remove that confounded empty plastic bottle!