Unstill Life

Polina Plotnikova of the UK was our Pink Lady® Apple a Day 2016 Winner for her image ‘Unstill Life’ which she describes as ‘a slightly surreal Still Life with Pink Lady® apples floating above the table.’

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Technical: Canon EOS 5DS R, Lens EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM

How does it feel to be a Finalist for the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2016?

I have been coming to Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year exhibitions for the last few years and always admired the high standards of work. Never thought I would be able to proudly say that I am one of the Finalists!

Polina is seen below receiving her award from Michelle Toft, Chief Marketing Officer Coregeo UK.

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Please tell us more about capturing your Finalist image. For example; what was happening around you, what inspired the shot, what time of day, challenges you had in capturing it.

Being a still life photographer I often use food, fruits and vegetables in my compositions. I was working on a mini series of slightly surreal images with various props. During short break for a snack I placed a few Pink Lady® apples on a shooting table and subconsciously started thinking about a composition for a new shot. A few sketches later, I came up with something completely new and decided to implement this idea. The main challenge was to fix apples in the right place so that I do not need to fiddle too much at post-processing stage. My husband came up with a clever system of strings and clumps and I did my best to use natural light to keep the shot light and airy.

What was it about the image that you feel fitted the category so well?

Pink Lady® apples are fun to eat and fun to photograph! I wanted to create a quirky image, different from a conventional still life I usually shoot. I also wanted apples to be real stars of the shot. This whole session was my "apple a day".

What would you say attracts you most to the photography of food?

When photographing food I like to uncover something unusual, something that would not necessarily come to your mind when you look at food or ingredients.

What are your thoughts on the cultural impacts of new smartphone apps on the photography sector? Positive, negative, no impact? Why?

Being mostly a studio photographer I create an image in my head first, visualising it down to as many details as possible. Smartphone apps are of no help to me, all my photography sessions are planned in advance. On the other hand, I cannot deny how useful smartphones are when you need to capture something, that happens in front of your eyes when you do not have all your studio equipment at your disposal. Colourful stalls at a farmers market when you are out for your weekly shopping without your camera, people working in fields when you are on holiday, amazing-looking dessert on your plate when you are being treated for surprise dinner - all these shots sometime are simply not possible without a smartphone in your pocket.

Very often I use them in the same way traditional artist would use a quick sketch. They could be useful to me sometimes as a quick visual record of the idea, that I will use in my studio work later on. It could be a snap of an interesting fruit display or intricate design of a dessert on a plate.

Which photographers, if any, have most influenced your work?

In my still life photography I was probably mostly influenced by Irving Penn's iconic still life images.

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Image above: Polina Plotnikova

Please tell us a little about where you live and if, at all, how it influences your photography.

I live in Kent and luckily have no shortage of props for my still life photography with all the farmers markets in our area. Delicious fruits, fresh ingredients and colourful flowers on your doorsteps - what else can a still life photographer wish for?

What exciting projects have you been working on since winning the category?

I have recently got "Highly Commended" in portfolio category for a panel of images I submitted to one of my favourite competitions: International Garden Photographer Of The Year:

I also got a single image "The Last Dance" commended in monochrome category and this image was chosen for the annual book cover.

Still Life is still very much my favourite photography subject. I am working on a panel of painterly looking still life with very limited colour palette, each shot styled in one or two colours.  I am also working on photo project for my next Royal Horticultural Society Photography Exhibition and on a panel of images for my next Royal Photographical Society distinction - Fellowship. Another thing - I was very impressed with entries into wine category last year and planning a photography trip to Burgundy now.

To connect with Polina visit:

Website: www.polinaplotnikova.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/polina.plotnikova.372

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