Polina Plotnikova talk

The first part of Polina’s excellent talk covered studio flower photography and the second part was about her still life images.

She explained how she started treating photography more seriously with photography distinctions including those from the RPS, and then running photography workshops.

Polina also explained what camera equipment she uses, Canon family of lenses and cameras, in particular a Canon 100m macro lens, and also Lensbaby lenses.

She shared with us her photographs their influences from history of art, from one artist to another, including Georgia O’Keefe and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Polina also talked through the lighting equipment she uses, and how the use of Lensbaby family of lenses for partial focussing and distortion, gives a painterly effect.

She covered the process of her dancing flowers images, 2 shots, one at 2 seconds with ICM, moving herself (dancing), and one normal image. Then her 2 shots are blended together, for her in camera as a double exposure, but if not can be done in Photoshop as layers.

For her still life photography, Polina showed us examples of her homage to Old Masters, including one image that was in her mind for 2 years. She explained how she searched high and low for particular components including a prop of a metal jug. A last minute trip to Amsterdam in a flea market sourced the object for 8 euros!

She gave us an unorthodox tip for home studio set up, don’t get rid of your old ironing board! Use this to help set up the still life arrangement, as it can be raised and lowered as desired. There was also advice on composition of still life, fine tuning angles and positioning, to enhance the atmosphere of the image.

Turning to lenses, Polina explained how she uses lenses to get partial focus effects which are manual focus only, including some vintage lenses too as well as the Lensbaby family. She explained how the partial focus effect is tricky to get in post processing, and can easily be detected by and expert. (I was tempted to try this until she mentioned this!)

For still life images which are a little gravity defying, we learned how the subject materials appearing in mid-air is achieved with small glass supports, which were edited out afterwards giving the appearance of weightlessness, for example her Pink Lady apples image.

Question about format (Michel) – Polina prefers square or square-ish format images, versus the 35mm format, for example, the Old Masters did not tend to use this, but used a format that suited the image. She explained that even though her RAW file is 35mm format, her camera allows her to define the format that she would see on the viewfinder, e.g. 1×1. She finds the format is defined by the individual subject rather than in being defined by a contemporary style.

Polina has provided some more information about her talk available for members below.

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