Still Life Photographers: Objects and What We Can Do With Them

Laura Letinsky

Fig 1. Chromogenic Print. 2002

Canadian photographer Laura Letinsky creates fine art still life imagery which depicts objects including food and dining wear as her focus.  Following her studies in the arts, Letinsky works as a professor at the Chicago university as well as working freelance.  Letinsky is also involved in various grants including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and exhibits internationally.  Her works have featured in galleries such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Letinsky’s work is quaint and simplistic, using ambient lighting to create soft toned imagery often giving a pastel colouring to the still life and background.  Letinsky is diverse in how she composes her still lives in which she lays objects upon clothed tables and creates mess upon the surface.  The action of creating this composition gives the images a sense of absence as if an individual has just finished eating and left the table to be cleared. Letinsky also photographs her own prints and creates tension as on occasion, the objects balance on the edges of the table’s surface.

I find Letinsky is very delicate with how he handles objects in her work and creates the natural appearance of a potential event that has just passed.  I admire how Letinsky makes her images appear very natural and the lighting gives a nice tone that acknowledges the surroundings through reflection or shadows.  I also admire how imperfect the scenes appear; for example, the cloth is creased and we can occasionally spot the corner of a window.  I find these details give the viewer an awareness of what else lies in the room, thus leaving the viewer in suspense.

Fischli Weiss

Fig 2. Equilibres 1. 1984-1987

Collaborating artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss are a duo who use objects in a unique fashion in which they are experimental with the act of balancing, movement and other playful forms using a variety of media.  Since 1979, the duo have also used video in their work including the film titled ‘The Way things Go’ in 1987. The film displays the ultimate object playground where Fischli and Weiss film a sequence that sees objects interact through a mechanism set up displaying connected movement.

Fischli and Weiss’ photographic pieces depict objects balanced in peculiar compositions where in some instances, we see objects hanging or sitting atop another to create an unstable sculptural form.  Objects the duo use consist of everyday items such as wood, glasses, cutlery and drink bottles. The images give a quality bringing across performance that could almost be compared to that of a circus act.  There is a sense of tension as Fischli-Weiss leaves the viewers thoughts open to the possibility that the sculptures could fall at any moment.  Similarly to Letinsky, the lighting is also gives a neutral appearance that brings further drama to the imagery.

I admire Fischli Weiss for how they bring more playfulness to objects in terms of capturing them in different circumstances and I feel this allows the audience to see more potential from objects in terms of function.  I find the photographic images reveal a different side to ordinary items and this gives me further ideas to experiment with objects without being too selective.


Gilbert Garcin

Fig 3. Les Danger Des Images. 2009

Gilbert Garcin is a fine art photographer who places himself as part of his subject matter in surreal settings made up from objects.  Working in black and white, Garcin creates his own studio props and miniature sets to create charming scenes depicting his exploration of a world of objects.

Garcin’s images give a wonderland atmosphere as we follow his steps through obstacles involving objects such as picture frames, balloons and blocks.  Garcin uses harsh lighting as he highly contrasts light and dark elements and he also incorporates scenic landscapes or skycaps as a supporting background.  In Garcin’s collection, we generally only see his character with one other female character that also appears on occasion.  Garcin plays out a narrative that brings a sense of curiosity and searching as he wonders and ponders on his surreal surroundings.

I admire Garcin for how he plays with perspective and also for his awareness of shape and pattern in the objects he uses.  I find his imagery is very ornamental but still gives reference to reality as we can se elements of real places.  This gives me further ideas on how I could merge a studio environment with an exterior landscape to present some illusion or clue to what lies beyond what the viewer is actually seeing.



Laura Letinsky ARR (2016) ‘Biography/Works‘[Online] Available from: (Accessed 12/04/2016)

Fischi Weiss (2016) ‘Works’ [Online] Available from: (Accessed 12/04/2016)

Matthew Marks Gallery ARR (2016) ‘Peter Fischli David Weiss-Selected Works’ Available from: (Accesed 12/04/2016)

Artsy ARR (2016) ‘Gilbert Garcin-29 Artworks, Bio and Shows'[Online] Availbale from: (Accessed 12/04/2016)


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