Still Life: The Object as Subject


  • Irving Penn, Composition with Skull and Pear,1971
  • Zeke Berman Untitled (Fruit Basket), 1984
  • Laura Letinsky Untitled, #35, 2001, from the Morning, and Melancholia series

A still life is a picture of objects that have been arranged in a composition. Photographic still lifes are usually made in a studio setting where artists use precise composition and lighting to render shape, show the surface of objects, establish mood, and draw the viewer’s attention to certain elements. Artist often use natural and manmade objects carefully selected and placed in the scene to serve as symbols or metaphors. The still life has a long tradition in art history, specifically in painting.

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Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-5554

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