Kevin McKenna's picture

Steichen's Cup

The story is told that Edward Steichen (co-founder along with Alfred Stieglitz of the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession) as an experiment, once over a period of many months made a series of over 1000 exposures of a simple white cup & saucer using as many different lighting configurations. I found the idea intriguing as it challenged my lifelong belief that virtually any subject, no matter how drab or seemingly uninteresting, can be photographed to produce an attractive image. So one afternoon I spent a few hours playing with different lighting configurations making a series of exposures. This image was made using a Nikon F3 with a Nikkor AI 105mm f2.8 at f8, mounted on a tripod, on Tri-X Film. One strobe was used positioned above, to the left and slightly behind the subject, and a reflective baffle was placed in the path of the light to cast some of the light onto the white wall of the studio in which it was shot. Unfortunately none of Steichen's "Cup & Saucer" images exist today. I like to think this is how one of them may have looked.

Nikon F3
Nikon F3
105 · ISO 400
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