15th. February 2021 – POLINA PLOTNIKOVA (FRPS, EFIAP) – “Starting From a Blank Canvas”

It is, perhaps, not often that our speaker can be described as sophisticated, intellectual, incisive and magnificent but following our club meeting last night members of SYPC were inspired and motivated to extend their knowledge after seeing the high quality work of the Internationally acclaimed Polina Plotnikova (FRPS EFIAP)
Having read a History of Art degree from Moscow State University it was clear to see the influences that have brought this artist to her pinnacle. She is a regular award winner at the International Garden Photographer of the Year, Pink Lady Photographer of the Year, and Royal Horticultural Society photographic awards. This year will also be the 3rd. year that Polina has been a judge at the RHS – Royal Horticultural Society Photography Competition.


The evenings lecture divided into FLOWER PORTRAITURE and STILL LIFE.
1. Flower portraiture – These images were created in the studio where careful thought, composition, light and lens choice have all been brought to bear on her subjects, having studied the artistry of Joseph Redoute, Lilian Snelling, Georgia Totto O’Keeffe, Robert Mapplethorpe, Karl Blossfeldt, Ron Van Dongen as well as Monet, Van Gogh, Burgers. The brush and paint expertise of these exponents has been studied to withdraw the finer points of their technique and bring it to the photographic studio. Such conditions provide all the time in the world and the time to realise the perfection that is sought, even with plants which are (past their best) and half dead. The advanced techniques, using full manual mode, creative lens distortion, double exposure and slow shutter speeds were skilfully drawn together to form many superb images.


2. Still life – Seeking to understand and develop the work of old masters like Willen Claesz Heda and his perfection of composition bringing together such random objects as mackerel, peeled lemons, silver cups, knives and a vase. We viewed excellence through the centuries from Francesco de Zurbaran, Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Francois Guislain Magritte and Soren Emil Carlsen to see the effectiveness of precise detail, very few props, surreal approaches with floating apples and the juxtaposition of ceramic and real fruit poised to appear as though the real fruit is gossiping about the perfect porcelain. Light and colour simplicity come together to form that appealing blend that becomes more fantastic as it is studied.
The talk finished with an anecdote regarding a prepared still life of a drinks jug, wine glasses, apricots, in various random and partially eaten positions. As Polina said “all of my creations start with a blank canvas.


However Polina’s willingness to share her expertise and knowledge didn’t stop when we said goodnight. We then received a detailed set of follow up notes to supplement her presentation. These included but were not limited to –

  • Links to the studio lights she uses.
  • As a Lensbaby ambassador we had links to this product set including a discount code.
  • Links to numerous other lenses she likes to use.
  • Links to the software that she uses for remote shooting and for focus stacking
  • The Photo paper that is used and where to purchase it
  • The backgrounds used and where to purchase them
  • Where to purchase good quality artificial flowers for practicing techniques
  • The clamps used to support the flowers
  • The names of all the artists and photographers whose work has influenced her
  • Various opportunities for studio work or workshops with Polina
  • Finally links to stay in touch with Polina on Facebook, Instagram and her website

The notes mentioned above were spread over 3 1/2 pages of A4 and is testament to Polina’s professionalism and willingness to spread her knowledge.

By any standards this was an inspiring evening and visitors are recommended to visit Polina’s website athttp://www.polinaplotnikova.com

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