A Man’s Shrine

A shrine (Latin: scrinium “case or chest for books or papers”; Old French: escrin “box or case”) is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated. A shrine at which votive offerings are made is called an altar. Shrines are found in many of the world’s religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Wicca, Chinese folk religion and Shinto, as well as in secular and non-religious settings such as a war memorial. Shrines can be found in various settings, such as churches, temples, cemeteries, or in the home, although portable shrines are also found in some cultures.
A shrine may become a focus of a cult image.” (from wikipedia)

“A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on). With origins in the Middle Ages and Ancient Greek/Roman art, still life paintings give the artist more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition than do paintings of other types of subjects such as landscape or portraiture. Still life paintings, particularly before 1700, often contained religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. Some modern still life breaks the two-dimensional barrier and employs three-dimensional mixed media, and uses found objects, photography, computer graphics, as well as video and sound.” (from wikipedia)

by Robert Mapplethorpe

by Robert Mapplethorpe

by ©Roger Ballen

by ©Roger Ballen

by ©Gonzalo Bénard
by ©Gonzalo Bénard
by John Dugdale

by John Dugdale

Shrines became more popular than this nowadays. It doesn’t matter if you praise 1 or several gods, if you’re atheist or if you use it for your imaginary friend. Sometimes they even look like still lives, where somehow the light beams lit the daily objects. That corner you enjoy and to which you smile when you look at. That special corner to you that nobody else needs to know, or maybe the one that you share with the world.

There you can have old saints or shells you found at the sea. Books you want to keep visible to not allow your memory to forget. The place where you put the keys, the glasses or the lamp that you inherited from your grand mother. It doesn’t matter, that corner is your corner, your still life shrine.

by ©Chen Wei

by ©Chen Wei

In some old “cafes” or even at certain houses, you can see some curious things mixed, like football heroes with virgins and saints, and politicians. All pictures on the wall over a piece of furniture with dead flowers, or even plastic ones. That corner which the kids are not allowed to touch. Your corner, your sacred place. Maybe the only place in the house that you clean with joy. The place that inspires you safety.

And there are some photographers who are wonderful capturing the intimacy of these still life oracles, most of them using just sun beams to get a sacred rapture of them.

by ©Alexandra Höhn

by ©Alexandra Höhn

by ©Johan Willner

by ©Johan Willner

by ©Derek Tokar

by ©Derek Tokar

by ©Chad Williams

by ©Chad Williams

by ©Daniel Muniak

by ©Daniel Muniak

by ©Gavin Hammond

by ©Gavin Hammond

by ©Lauren Simonutti

by ©Lauren Simonutti

A Nude Shrine, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

A Nude Shrine, by ©Gonzalo Bénard

by ©Joel-Peter Witkin

by ©Joel-Peter Witkin

by ©Sylvian Biard

by ©Sylvian Biard

by ©Thomas Ruff

by ©Thomas Ruff

At the end, the concept of shrines mixed with still lifes and oracles can make wonderful photographs to be explored in great and very creative compositions. Compositions with lost memories or memories to be. Or just that spot where the sun never fails to you. Real or just in your own imagination.

Who doesn’t have a special one?

If you want some tips on composition here are 3 texts you shouldn’t miss:
The Conspiracy of the Brain“, “What Makes a Good Photograph? I” and “What Makes a Good Photograph? II

text by ©Gonzalo Bénard for 2HeadS
March, 2013
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