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Still Life Photography

Still life photography refers to photography which depicts inanimate objects, often a small grouping of objects. This genre has been around for as long as photography itself.

When cameras were first invented, photographers needed the subjects of their photographs to be completely still for the exceptionally long exposure time. This made portraiture or action shots difficult, and still life the preferred choice.

Roger Fenton, a 19th century photographer, is credited with introducing a sense of movement to the medium, which was taken to more of an extreme by the early 20th century. Baron Adolf de Meyer and other photographers who chose to work with still life employed soft-focus lenses and other painterly techniques to make their work resemble the more acceptable fine art forms of painting and drawing.


Quick Facts

  • Still life, as opposed to landscape or portraiture, allows the artist more leeway and creativity in the arrangement of the composition
  • André Kertész' "Nature Morte, Chez Mondrian" sold at Sotheby's New York in December 2014 for $197,000
  • Artist Man Ray's photograph "Dead Leaf" is a memento mori depicting a dead, claw-like leaf against a wood-grain background. It is an excellent example of an artist using photography to provide an updated take on a popular motif

Recommended Items at Auction

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DANIEL GORDON (AMERICAN B. 1980)
Nov 03, 2:00 PM GMT
DANIEL GORDON (AMERICAN B. 1980)
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £1,000- £2,000
£2204 Bids
DANIEL GORDON (AMERICAN B. 1980)
Nov 03, 2:00 PM GMT
DANIEL GORDON (AMERICAN B. 1980)
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £1,000- £2,000
£2203 Bids
60+ AMERICAN LaFRANCE DELIVERY PHOTOS
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
60+ AMERICAN LaFRANCE DELIVERY PHOTOS
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$502 Bids
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Edward S. Curtis, Wishham Beadwork, 1910
Nov 06, 10:00 AM MDT
Edward S. Curtis, Wishham Beadwork, 1910
by Santa Fe Art Auction
Est: $300- $500
$2001 Bid
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§ ADAM CULLEN (1965-2012) Edward Kelly at Glenrowan 2010 archival pigment print, ed. A/P
Nov 10, 6:00 PM AEDT
§ ADAM CULLEN (1965-2012) Edward Kelly at Glenrowan 2010 archival pigment print, ed. A/P
by Leonard Joel
Est: AUD1,500- AUD2,500
AUD1,3001 Bid
[MILWAUKEE]. A GROUP OF FACTORY PHOTOGRAPHIC NEGATIVES. EAR...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
[MILWAUKEE]. A GROUP OF FACTORY PHOTOGRAPHIC NEGATIVES. EAR...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $150- $250
$801 Bid
[AUTOMOBILES]. A GROUP OF EARLY AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT PHOTOGR...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
[AUTOMOBILES]. A GROUP OF EARLY AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT PHOTOGR...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Blume, Bernhard Johannes (1937 - 2011),
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
Blume, Bernhard Johannes (1937 - 2011),
by Auktionshaus Plückbaum
Est: €0- €0
€2000 Bids
ZAP COMIX #1 * 7.0 * 2nd Printing * SIGNED by R. CRUMB w/ PROVENANCE
Oct 28, 11:00 AM PDT
ZAP COMIX #1 * 7.0 * 2nd Printing * SIGNED by R. CRUMB w/ PROVENANCE
by PBA Galleries Auctions & Appraisers
Est: $500- $800
$4000 Bids
ZAP COMIX #2 * 9.2 * 1st Print * Signed by RICK GRIFFIN
Oct 28, 11:00 AM PDT
ZAP COMIX #2 * 9.2 * 1st Print * Signed by RICK GRIFFIN
by PBA Galleries Auctions & Appraisers
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
CARL BARKS Signed Limited Litho * Ghost from the Grotto
Oct 28, 11:00 AM PDT
CARL BARKS Signed Limited Litho * Ghost from the Grotto
by PBA Galleries Auctions & Appraisers
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
PBA COMICS Hardcover Ltd Edition CATALOGUE * Pre-Code HORROR * 1 of 15 Copies
Oct 28, 11:00 AM PDT
PBA COMICS Hardcover Ltd Edition CATALOGUE * Pre-Code HORROR * 1 of 15 Copies
by PBA Galleries Auctions & Appraisers
Est: $200- $300
$2000 Bids
Photographie MOUFFE Michel (1957)
Nov 03, 6:30 PM CET
Photographie MOUFFE Michel (1957)
by Vanderkindere
Est: €800- €1,200
€8000 Bids
Photographie GALLACCIO Anya (1963)
Nov 03, 6:30 PM CET
Photographie GALLACCIO Anya (1963)
by Vanderkindere
Est: €350- €450
€3400 Bids
ODIORNE, WILLIAM C. (AMERICAN ,1881-1978). PARIS, PHOTOGRAP...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
ODIORNE, WILLIAM C. (AMERICAN ,1881-1978). PARIS, PHOTOGRAP...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids
Lonneke De Groot, Dutch b.1981- Heda (No.8), 2013; inkjet print on disband, from the edition of
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
Lonneke De Groot, Dutch b.1981- Heda (No.8), 2013; inkjet print on disband, from the edition of
by Roseberys
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,4000 Bids
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SAM MAHL VINTAGE PHOTO"MILLSTREAM WOODSTOCK"1956
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
SAM MAHL VINTAGE PHOTO"MILLSTREAM WOODSTOCK"1956
by COHCO Auction & Sales
Est: $1,000- $1,400
$3250 Bids
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SAM MAHL VINTAGE PHOTO "POT BELLY STOVE" CIRCA 1960
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
SAM MAHL VINTAGE PHOTO "POT BELLY STOVE" CIRCA 1960
by COHCO Auction & Sales
Est: $900- $1,400
$5000 Bids
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SAM MAHL VINTAGE PHOTO "MAMA " CIRCA 1950
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
SAM MAHL VINTAGE PHOTO "MAMA " CIRCA 1950
by COHCO Auction & Sales
Est: $1,000- $1,600
$3250 Bids
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SAM MAHL VINTAGE VINTAGE PHOTO "WINDOW W/ BARS" 1959
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
SAM MAHL VINTAGE VINTAGE PHOTO "WINDOW W/ BARS" 1959
by COHCO Auction & Sales
Est: $1,100- $1,500
$3250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Still Life Photography


COHCO Auction & Sales

COHCO Auction & Sales

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries

Veritas Art Auctioneers

Veritas Art Auctioneers