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10 Contemporary Still Life Photographers You Must See

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Still life photography is a tricky genre. If you don’t do it the right way, you can end up with a sad-looking bunch of inanimate objects and boring images.

Do it well, and you turn your still life images into pieces of art! But how can you master still life photography?

You need to find inspiration and outstanding examples you can follow. Read our list of ten contemporary still life photographers you must see to find the right path to better still life images.

A cool still life composition of a bouquet of flowers in a copper vase
Photo by Eneida Nieves on Pexels

10. Jonathan Knowles

Jonathan is an outstanding advertising photographer specialising in still life photography. He has a unique style and lighting technique.

He likes to focus on drinks and liquids because they have been inspiring him since his childhood.

When I was eight years old, I was awestruck by Harold Edgerton’s iconic milk splash image, which was on the wall of my school science laboratory. For the next few years, I carried this inspiration with me. When I bought my first camera, two of the frames on my first roll of film were of splashing milk.”

His work won him several awards, and Jonathan worked with clients like Coca-Cola, Smirnoff, Nescafé and Guinness.

still life photo of a bouquet of pink flowers
Credit: Jonathan Knowles

Website | Instagram

9. Jenny Van Sommers

Jenny is an award-winning still life photographer from Sydney. Today, she is working and living in London. Her images are quirky, fun and innovative. And she has quite a reputable clientele including like Apple, Nike, Audie and Hermes.

She also took up painting a few years ago and started to create paintings showcasing bananas during the pandemic lockdown in 2020.

still life photos of bags and sunglasses
Credit: Jenny Van Sommers

Website | Instagram

8. Mat Collishaw

Mat is a British contemporary artist who also creates still life photography. He attended Goldsmiths’ College and had various solo and group exhibitions in the past three decades.

Collishaw’s work is showcased at many famous art institutions like the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art; and Tate, London.

His work is often confronting, and you need to take a second look to understand what is going on in his images.

Dark still life photo of food in a bowl by Mat Collishaw
Credit: Mat Collishaw

Website

7. Henry Hargreaves

Henry is a Brooklyn-based contemporary photographer who is famous for his still life and food photography. He was born in New Zealand and then moved to Manhattan.

He worked as a bartender and as a professional model, modelling for Prada, Hermes and Lacoste.

He learnt about photography techniques while working with other photographers and experimented a lot. His still life photography focuses on food and often has a funny, edgy message.

Henry’s photography was featured at the Venice Biennale, at the MAXXI in Rome and at The Lunch Box Gallery in Miami, Florida.

still life photo of a bowl of gummy bears
This photo by Henry Hargreaves is part of a series showcasing the special requests of artists before giving concerts

Website | Instagram

6. Evelyn Bencicova

Evelyn is a visual creative from Bratislava, Slovakia. She specialises in photography and art direction. Evelyn studied at the University for Applied Arts, Vienna.

She uses a visual language that is full of symbolic elements. This way, the viewer is looking at her still life photography for a long time, trying to understand its various depths. Evelyn’s images are always more than meets the eye.

Evelyn worked with clients like Gucci, Cartier and Nehera. She won several awards and her work appeared in Vogue Portugal, Vogue Spain and Elle magazines.

abstract still life photo with a small sculpture and two plates of food
Credit: Evelyn Bencicova

Website | Instagram

5. Tatiana Skorokhod

Tatiana is a hobby photographer from Kyiv, Ukraine. Her beautiful still-life photographs look like renaissance still life paintings. She has a great eye for choosing subjects and playing with the light.

She photograph buckets of flowers, food items and everyday objects. Besides still life photography, you can also find landscape and travel images in her portfolio.

photos of bouquets of colorful flowers by Tatiana Skorokhod
Credit: Tatiana Skorokhod

Website | Instagram

4. Shihya Kowatari

Shihya is a still-life photographer from Japan. Her still-life images look dreamy and fragile because she mostly captures natural objects.

She loves flowers and creatures and manages to find beauty in simple objects. In her still life photography, she often uses bokeh and captures silhouettes.

still life photos of leaves
Credit: Shihya Kowatari

Website

3. Robert Sulkin

Robert Sulkin is an outstanding photographer from the US. He has a BA in History and an MA and MFA in Art. He was teaching photography for 39 years at Hollins University.

He has had several solo and group exhibitions during his career. Sulkin also received many awards, including Best in Show in Photospiva, Joplin, MO 2008 and at the Academy of Fine Arts National Juried Photography Exhibition, Lynchburg, VA in 2013.

Sulkin claims about his own art: “Broadly, my photography deals with the futility of the individual attempting to cope in a technology-driven world spinning out of control.

abstract black and white still life photos by Robert Sulkin
Credit: Robert Sulkin

Website

2. Krista van der Niet

Krista is one of the best still life photographers from the Netherlands. She studied in Amsterdam and participated in many group exhibitions.

Her clients include prestigious Dutch names like Dutch Design Week, Erasmus Universiteti and Volkskrant Magazine.

Krista’s still life photography often includes fruits and vegetables mixed with pieces of clothes. Her images tend to have sarcastic references about pop culture and consumerism.

modern still life photo of egg yolks placed on a piece of cloth resembling a checker board
Credit: Krista van der Niet

Website | Instagram

1. Olivia Parker

Olivia is a professional photographer from the US, specialising in still life photography. She was focusing on silver prints photographs until a ski accident in 1995. Her injured leg didn’t allow her to work in a dark room or a studio. So she turned to digital photography.

Digital allows me total freedom to experiment without worrying about film usage or precise camera set up.  In the beginning, view camera work was, however, a much better teacher for me than digital would have been.  It made me slow down, consider image edges and think about the dynamics of what falls between the edges.

Olivia has had more than 100 solo exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. Her husband has Alzheimer’s disease which inspired one of her series.

Contemporary still lifes photo of peaches in a bowl
Credit: Olivia Parker

Website

Conclusion

Still life photography is a niche that requires an excellent eye for lighting and composition. Looking at experienced photographers’ art is an excellent way to learn more about still life.

Feel free to find inspiration in other photographers’ work and share yours to inspire your fellow artists.

Want to become an expert in creative still life photography? Why not check out our ebook The Creative Photography Cookbook next!

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