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Still Life I 


1 May - 31 October 2021

Dedicated to  June Hutson, my former colleague at the Missouri Botanical Garden and our dear friend ever since. 

The First Image of the Exhibit

         Still life, as an artistic medium, has probably been with us for as long as any other, although I personally can't recall any represented in the prehistoric cave paintings which have come down to us through the ages. Clearly though, still life has been with us as far back as ancient Egyptian tomb art and early Greek and Roman frescos and vases. For most of this time, still life seems to have been considered a "lower," or less serious form of art than other genres.


The Photographer's Tools  Albi, France. 13 September 2000



          Rather than have a personal attitude about the "worthiness" of still life in some subjective hierarchy of art genres, I tend to think of this particular art as an intermediate stage in the broad visual spectrum of imagery, with abstracts at one end and landscapes, portraits and the like at the other. Still lifes are clearly more definable as combinations of particular objects than abstracts, but may still be something of abstracts of larger views of the broader world.

          Still life, for me, is also something of a visual manifestation of short poems - haiku and the like: small, discrete elements, hinting at a larger meaning. Not the whole story, but a critical sampling of the essence of the experience at hand. Still life also encourages me to focus on the "here and now" rather than the timeless or limitless dimensions of our existence.

       *           *           *  
          Although not related to the subject at hand, room here finally allows me an opportunity to acknowledge probably the greatest influence on my aesthetic and purpose for photography. It was not until I became serious about pursing photography as an expressive medium in the mid-1990s that I realized the two most influential documents in photography for me were connected to the same person - Edward Steichen.

          The earliest influence was a compilation of photographs documenting the War in the Pacific which was distributed to all who served in that World War II theater, including my father, Captain Thomas A. Huckins, USN. Steichen also served in that theater and was charged with documenting the Navy's story there
          The second influence was the catalogue, also created by Steichen, entitled The Family of Man, documenting the Museum of Modern Art exhibit of the same name, curated by Steichen in the early 1950s, when I was still a young, impressionable lad. 

          Serious students of photography will doubtless see the strong influence of these two documents on my own photographic efforts. My admiration and gratitude for Steichen's work could not be greater.

The First Image of the  Exhibit

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