Since last October I have been meaning to set aside some time to write a post on my ‘Still’ series exhibition that was shot with Felix Forest. With two small kids, shooting, designing, running a business, instagram (that is always last on the to do list) I find it hard to find a spare minute to blog so apologies for the delay in writing this post.
‘Still’ is a group of 15 limited edition photographic works and was produced in collaboration with photographer and friend Felix Forest.
I mentioned on the opening night hosted by Becker Minty at Puddleduck in Elizabeth Bay how special it was to have met Felix. He shares a similar passion and fascination for Flemish still life paintings and wanted to explore the medium and I was very grateful that he saw value in getting me involved. It’s a very special feeling when you collaborate on a project and when you first see the captured image and know you are on the same page, it’s like a flash of magic.
Felix and I were extremely honoured to have Karen McCartney Author and Curator open the exhibition and her kind words were really appreciated.
Karen said in her opening speech ” the poetry of two talented people coming together to create something quite magical. What these images are about is the best in creative collaboration. When two aesthetics and skill sets merge, when the singular vision has room for both points of view, for a mutual understanding that allows a concept to evolve, shape-shift and become its own distinct entity.”
For a little more information here is an exert from the ‘Still’ press release.
These ￼painterly photographs reference the classical structures and symbolism of the 17th century still lifes ￼painted by Flemish masters such as Vermeer. Insects appear throughout, a theme that suggests both nature’s bounty and impermanence of life. Light falls on objects as if through time. Within the deceptive simplicity of these compositions we see references to many allegorical themes of classical still lifes – the secret messages placed to challenge and delight the viewer who must interpret the Vanitas message of the snuffed candle, the fruits of paradise symbolised by the artichoke, and the earthy femininity of the wine goblet’s inverted triangle. And in each work, an insect appears reflecting diverse themes of hope and resurrection, or transience and decay.
Limited editions available in two print sizes. The works are box framed in oak, without glass to complete the painterly allusion. Please contact Becker Minty for more information.
Photographer – Felix Forest
Leather hide as tablecloth, NSW Leather
Beechwood bowl, HAY
Small glass cup with gold detailing, HAY
Steel grey velvet used as backdrop, Westbury Textiles
Medium dish in Ink, Batch Ceramics
Cement vase by Studio Twocan, Jardan
Large dish in Ink, Batch Ceramics
Paper porcelain small dish, HAY
Medium plate with brown detailing, China Clay
White napkin with navy detailing, Space Furniture
Small cup with indent, China Clay
Medium bowl with navy detailing, China Clay
Paper Porcelain cup and mug, Hay
Bottom white plate, Batch Ceramics
Top navy plate, China Clay
Large bowls and beaker in Ink , Batch Ceramics
Peasant Plate in Satin, Batch Ceramics
White bowl with blue detailing, China Clay
Medium indigo wash plate, China Clay
Remaining items, Stylists own
I don’t tend to gravitate to many things that shine. I’m not fond of sparkles and was never a real “girly girl” however sometimes I find myself gravitating towards luxe velvet as it can add something really special to an image when teamed back with a natural, strong material like leather.
These are the two materials I have focused on today and I love the way Amanda Prior, my photographer, worked with the light, creating shadows from the velvet and giving depth to the images. Lightness to darkness to create mood.
As the background and the leather surface form a blank slate, I sourced subtle pattern in ceramics to add interest. My new favourite ceramicist from Brunswick Heads, Lucy Vanstone, whom I discovered at China Clay in Clovelly, has worked so well within a limited palette and knows when to hold back, creating art pieces that are still very usable but also have a unique quality.
The tones of Joy’s work from Batch Ceramics, a local talent, that I respect greatly and the Studio Twocan vase from Jardan enhance all the colours I love. The depth of the olives, the intensity of the moody blues, the bronze cutlery and amber glassware all lead me to a place where I am secreted away and insulated from the cold.
This post can also be viewed on The Grace Tales
Photography – Amanda Prior
The more I explore Still Life and its composition the more I become fascinated with the elements that make a shot.
Shape, texture, form and the effects of adding images, nature and negative space that provides air for the objects to breath. Also playing with the foreground, middle-ground and background in each shot.
Learning to look and study and appreciate objects from all angles and positions. Always considering textures and how they complement or distract the eye or lead you to the magic of the image. Curves and angles grounding or off-setting, working with numbers and stacks or heights to create rhythm. There is so much to consider in every shot but so fascinating as I take myself on this journey of discovery and experimentation. Creating a seamless appreciation visually that goes unnoticed is the real skill. Also working with the addition of imagery that adds nostalgia takes you back to a past memory.
Photographer – Chris Chen
Ceiling light, Planet Furniture
White Linen Table Cloth, Cultiver
Napkin, Planet Furniture
Small cup resting on napkin, stylist own
White plates, dishes and bowls, Coad from Planet Furniture
Small panel detailed plates, HAY
Egg Goblet, The D E A Store
Assorted Eggs, Papaya
Small bowl with bubble detailing on bottom, Planet Furniture
Large deep plate, Coad from Planet Furniture
Cutipol Cutlery, Francalia
Tall vase, Planet Furniture
Small salt dish and spoon, The D E A Store
Assorted rabbits, Papaya
Ribbed bowl, Planet Furniture
Clay bowls with white drip detailing, Planet Furniture
Small, Medium and large grey geometric detailed tumblers, HAY
Letter ‘R’, Ici Et La
“Egg White” was created for The Grace Tales blog – a luxury shopping, lifestyle and directory destination for the stylish mum. The founder Georgie Abay and I have been discussing the possibility of collaborating for some time and it was great to finally find a date and lock in a story for this beautiful blog.
It was shot at one of my favourite shops, Planet , where I visit regularly, to source ceramics and homewares in Surry Hills. The owner Ross and I have been industry friends for many years and he has always been very supportive of my career. I decided to time my shoot with the Easter celebrations and there is a cyc at the front of his shop that I used as the background to style the story and his ‘egg shape’ splayed leg elliptical dining table and incredible Kris Coad ceramic leaf chandelier completed the picture I had envisioned.
I am always drawn to white stories so when I discovered white and grey ceramic eggs at Papaya and fell in love with them I decided, instead of the predictable colourful chocolate eggs that are on the market for Easter, I would create a table setting using these ceramic eggs and it would have an element of fantasy. Religious considerations aside, the concept of the iconic Easter Bunny lent itself to the creation of a magical “dream like” space that wouldn’t function in reality but was a wonderful concept to conjure up. I normally shy away from designing settings for specific calendar dates as they are always so cliche but I really enjoyed the creative thinking behind this story as it took me back to my childhood and the excitement felt around these special celebrations.
White, ceramics and children are not an easy combination (or an ideal mix-only the dog was missing!) but fortunately Felix was very fast in capturing the moments when my two kids arrived- 6 year old Leo and 18 month old Willow . The shades of white and grey allowed Felix to play with light and to create beautiful tones in the final images.
I hope everyone had a lovely Easter with family and friends.
Photographer – Felix Forest
Background painted in Obsidian, Porters Paint
Series 7 Green Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen, Cult
About A White Chair AAC22 Designed by Hee Wellng, Cult
Paper vase, Space Furniture
“At swim two birds” Mobile, Mr Kitly
Dish, Small Spaces
Ceramic cups, Ginkgo Leaf
Ceramic blue bowl, China Clay
Slab + Slub oval platter, Small Spaces
Oyster Spoon, Planet
Oak Chair, Spence & Lyda
Remaining ceramics, China Clay
I’m stepping outside myself today into the world of colour but it still embraces the subdued palette that I love. There is a texture that is tactile in each ceramic creation along with a fading in and out of the glaze, borrowed from Nature and producing colours that are shaded rather than solid. This technique showcases some very clever ceramicists who are using dyes to create wonderfully innovative effects. From Japanese artisans to local Australian designers you can see the love and detail that has gone into every handmade item. The concept here is to collect these unique individual pieces, not a matching set. Then each piece becomes a thing of beauty to marvel at and treasure. The rawness of the totally nude oak table which gives off its own light is accentuated by the dark background forming a perfect foil for the pops of colour culminating in a homage to the Earth and its elements.
Photographer – Felix Forest
Hay table, Cult
Copenhague Chair, Cult
Wooden plates, Catapult
White mesh vases, Emma Davies
White linen, Ikea
Wooden cup, Ginkgo Leaf
Wooden bowls, Ginkgo leaf
Tall wooden cup, Ginkgo Leaf
‘Thrown’ side plates, Brooke Thorn Handmade
Large round platter, Slab + Slub
Desiree White Wire Chair, Fred International
Paper bowl, Spence & Lyda
Ceramic Bottles, Graphis Art & Framing
This shoot was influenced by the beautiful Danish design shop Gubi and their campaigns which often showcase 20th Century design, greatly influenced by the Bauhaus School. I have always been passionate about the works of the directors of that school, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and continually find myself gravitating to Modernist Architecture. I find I need to surround myself with the simple but beautifully pared back design that arose from that movement when I source items for my own home.
You can see that Scandinavian design has become a magnet for me so you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that my sister and her family were moving to Stockholm. I can hardly wait for an opportunity to visit those inspirational design shops and to see the nieces and nephews!!!
This is a surreal story which allowed us to play with light and shapes, but which embraced a still life element as the determinant. The monochromatic synchronicity is a personal favourite.
Visualize the “stillness” when the guests arrive – the perfection that greets them then the descent into chaos as the night progresses and everything is shaken or turned upside down – my own version of an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatters Tea Party!
Photographer – Felix Forest
White cake stand, The Country Trader
White and yellow vessel, China Clay
White ribbed bowl, China Clay
White tall bottle, Planet
Blue and grey clay bowl, Planet
Grey clay plate, China Clay
Tablecloth as background, Cultiver
Tall green vessel, No.12 Trading
Set of white tea cups, China Clay
Dark grey pouring jug, No.12 Trading
Bowl, DEA Store
Blue and cream bowl small, Planet
Bowl with imprint, DEA Store
Small bowl, DEA Store
White scallop edged bowl DEA Store
Spotted clay plate, DEA Store
Duck egg blue speckled plate, Sigmar London
White round plate, China Clay
Red and Blue bowl and plate, DEA Store
White textured bowl, DEA Store
White light, Studio Enti @Design Hunter
Cream Napkin, China Clay
Blue Napkin, Cultiver
Remaining props sourced from hire companies or are my own.
I had been thinking about the title of this blog for quite some time when I suddenly realised that the images reminded me of one of the world’s most famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, his “Last Supper”. It was something about the camera angle, the framing and the scale of the table in the foreground of the shot that triggered this discovery. Looking back I find that a lot of my work is influenced by famous paintings, hence “Painted Palate” seemed to be an obvious choice, as it is my still life version of this wonderful work of art that I studied more than once during my art years at school.
I feel very connected to this story. I tried to capture a moment in time when everything aligns but at the same time it is a work in progress that has the potential to evolve into something even more special as I continue to attempt to balance and perfect the diverse elements influencing the outcome of the shot.
This blog post was a joy to create as I worked with talented photographer and good friend Chris Chen. It showcases a behind-the-scenes snapshot of how a stylist works. Moving and changing objects, constantly standing back and accessing the image through the camera lens. Neutral tones, ceramics, linens, table settings, still life and everyday objects- it is a combination of all my passions.
Enjoy watching my process become a reality through the eye of the lens.
Photographer – Chris Chen
1 Table, ici et la
1 Tablecloth, Society linen from Ondene
From left to right
1 Runner, Honeybee Homewares
2 Glass Tumblers, Honeybee Homewares
2 Plates, The Country Trader
1 Small Plate, The Fortynine Studio
1 Small Tin, 2 white bowls, Astier de Villate from Palm Beach Home
1 Glass Bowl, The Country Trader
3 Cutlery sets, The Country Trader
3 Plates, Astier de Villate from Palm Beach Home
1 Side Plate, The Fortynine Studio
1 Vase, Ondene
Other items not credited are hired from a prop hire company.
In my previous life as a fashion stylist I remember my sister asking me how I envisaged the styled outfits and my answer was ‘I just put whatever with whatever and I know if it works’. Of course she laughed at this and I understand now how little help this was to her. I do believe that some people have a natural ability to turn “rags to riches” but there are many elements to consider when building a shot and there is a most wonderful feeling when it all comes together. It’s a bit like magic.
Being a stylist is having an eye to edit well, to recognize that special piece and be able to incorporate that into your story or life. This process is greatly enhanced by working with a team of talented people.
In this shot I’ve combined different artists with the same aesthetic who complement each other and who use similar tones, but who all have a unique aspect to their artworks too which include subtle pattern and textured details.
I’ve tried to create balance in the shot, and a sense of harmony through the placement of the items. I make sure to consider the horizontals (table, table runner and stacked linens) in relation to the verticals (vase, panelled background etc), so that if I do stack items the sizes marry well together rather than making the grouped item look like one is dominated or oversized by the other.
I can see this set up in Paris in a gorgeous apartment with French shutters in dusty blue.
Main Image – Photographer – Chris Chen
Table, Ici et La
Chair, Ici et La
Plate (with nest), Spence & Lyda
Bowl (cherries), Spence & Lyda
Kelly Wearstler vase, Becker & Minty
Ceramic bowl, Spence & Lyda
Black Ceramic Jug, Spence & Lyda
Tea cup, Ginkgo Leaf
Black side plates, Spence & Lyda
Paper bowl, Spence & Lyda
Japanese Bowl, Planet
Gold Kelly Wearstler vase, Becker & Minty
Ceramic Cup, China Clay
Cutlery, Mr Kitly
Pendant light, Mr Kitly
Artwork as small placemat, Slab & Slub
Linen Napkins, Ondene
Painted calico fabric as tablecloth, Spotlight
Background in Obsidian, Porters Paint
Vintage Bottle and Artwork hired from Prop Hire Company
This is a special post today in honour of my late grandmother whom I very recently lost. I would like to celebrate her life as she was a major influence throughout my childhood and I can thank her, along with my mother, for nurturing my creativity and helping me feel grounded in a somewhat chaotic world.
The birds nest was found at my Grandmother’s beach shack, down the South Coast, many years ago and I decided to “borrow” it on my most recent Christmas visit as I got excited about it’s wonderful tactile presence as a prop for a future shoot. Following her passing it sparked a vision and became the centrepiece around which to base the table setting.
This shoot is also a little ‘old fashioned’ in style and tone, … influenced by the imprint of my grandmother in the interiors of ‘the Coast,’ and this feel was created through the use of deep textural greens, blues and rich black and the vintage oil painting is a nod to her era.
I suddenly realised that it resembles the work of the Australian painter, Margaret Olley, famous for her still life and interior works and funnily enough her face, with so much character, also reminds me a little of my Nan, a parallel I hadn’t planned, prior to the shoot.
This blog post I’ll keep it in the memory bank forever as one of my favourites, thanks to the brilliant photographer Felix Forest and his natural ability to capture the mood I envisaged. He brought “Nana’s Nest” to life and I thank him for that.
Remember it’s often the little things that make a shoot. A prop, a colour, a memory or the lighting. It’s the inspiration you feel as a stylist from this element that you weave into the narrative.
Farewell to a very special lady, my Nan xxx
Photographer – Felix Forest
Paintbrush vase, Dedeceplus
French wine glasses, The Country Trader
Electric blue linen napkins, The Country Trader
Light blue linen napkins, Linum
Watercolour wallpaper “Stripe blue Invert”, Emily Ziz
Plates, cutlery and small dishes sourced from prop hire companies, my prop cupboard, overseas travels and my son’s “nature” collection
Do you refill your tank by taking your shoes off and walking on grass or are you more often found recharging your batteries by the water?
As we know, people find energy in life from many different aspects – my husband feels an urgency to be near the water whereas I’m more inclined to be found on a long walk in a park.
“Watercolour” was inspired by my parents’ holiday house, known affectionately as ‘Poles’, situated north of Sydney. I spent some time up there recently on my own, sitting on the verandah where you can look out to the water. We call it ‘Paradise’!
The water looked so beautiful one afternoon I felt an urge to create a painting to try and capture the moment, however this is not where my talents lie! Instead I decided to turn this inspiration into a shoot combining the two elements – water and painting and “Watercolour” was the result.
Reminiscent of a painter’s studio, a creative place , that is designed to be conducive to fun, to be childlike again and get messy.
I like that everything is a little raw (no ironing necessary!) in this story, imperfections that come from combining nature and art.
Photographer Amanda Prior