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.
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
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.
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.