Daniel Jenkins

Still-life in threes

Metung, April 2020

Since the onset of this ISO period, I thought this would be a good time to explore some thoughts niggling in the back of my head.  To be honest, this lockdown isn't really affording me anything more or different than I have here every day… I work mostly in isolation and rarely go out except to get bread, sausage and vodka.  But still, instead of doing the things I should be doing, like mowing the garden, this is officially deemed playtime.


I set myself a challenge, other than my mental compositions of several conspiracy theories.  Still-life is my brief, pretty much as has been for the last twenty years... But this time without picture frames and the figure as subject matter.  I looked at what was randomly in eye-sight in the house.  And I seemed to fall into compositions involving three objects or three of a kind in some way.  But three of.  And I am making one still life each day.

Yellow Roses

Three Pears

Onion, lemon, pear

Jug, hook, umbrellas


I have a large studio for my figure based work... lights, backdrops, props... But for this I set up a corner with an easterly light that bounces back at the end of the day off the galvanised iron shed outside and so I have interesting light pretty much all day and even into the dusk.  It is a bench next to a window providing Caravaggio lighting, a set of shelves for props, lots of blu tack and dried fruit.  The camera on a tripod with only a prime lens and I move the tripod to suit the composition.  I make three exposures for saturation, then I take the image to Photoshop to apply one filter only, which I made years ago - a picture of a dirty window facing the setting sun in the other studio.  That's it.  No other manipulation.  Total control and no reliance on the digital revolution to create a false reality.  Pretty much exactly what we would have done in the days of natural light, film cameras, darkrooms and hand retouching.

The workspace

The workspace

Potato Party

Prawn Cocktail

Three balloons

Fruit Platter

Three fish

Coconut Wrench


I’m not sure there is a legacy in this collection nor even an exhibition in future.  But I treat each image as such, as art and as valid time for trialling ideas and evaluating the whole process of creating freely without trying to invent a new structure.  There may be one in here I would hang on the wall.  Others may see this differently.  So maybe, like I am doing, archiving all my work of the last forty years, I may make a desktop book to mark this time and this chapter.  I am putting others up on my facebook page and a couple of other groups marking this time spent in isolation.