Loading Spinner

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

See all items

Collection of four Sydney Tram photographs 1910 72H x 42W
Jun 26, 5:00 PM AEST
Collection of four Sydney Tram photographs 1910 72H x 42W
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD202 Bids
Dick Brown Photographs
Jun 29, 9:00 AM EDT
Dick Brown Photographs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
Irvin Hoover Photographs
Jun 29, 9:00 AM EDT
Irvin Hoover Photographs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
8 STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS.
Jun 28, 1:00 PM CEST
8 STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €60- €80
€301 Bid
8 VUES STÉRÉOSCOPIQUES.
Jun 28, 1:00 PM CEST
8 VUES STÉRÉOSCOPIQUES.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €60- €80
€301 Bid
Pat York (American, 20th c.) Large Format "Cadaver Series" Photograph
Jul 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Pat York (American, 20th c.) Large Format "Cadaver Series" Photograph
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $400
$501 Bid
CHRISTO & Jeanne-Claude (1935-2020), 'The Umbrellas, joint project for Japan-USA, 1991
Jul 08, 9:00 AM CEST
CHRISTO & Jeanne-Claude (1935-2020), 'The Umbrellas, joint project for Japan-USA, 1991
by Auktionshaus Schwab
Est: €390- €780
€3900 Bids
The Subway Tunnel Canvas Reproduction
Jul 02, 9:00 PM EDT
The Subway Tunnel Canvas Reproduction
by Weatherham Estate Treasures
Est: $600- $800
$3900 Bids
"Daisy After the Rain" Canvas Reproduction by Mike Moats
Jul 16, 9:00 PM EDT
"Daisy After the Rain" Canvas Reproduction by Mike Moats
by Weatherham Estate Treasures
Est: $400- $450
$2900 Bids
Sammlung
Jul 04, 10:00 AM CEST
Sammlung
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €50- €75
€500 Bids
Jeffery Becom, Calla & Cross, 1995, Color Photograph
Jun 25, 10:00 AM EDT
Jeffery Becom, Calla & Cross, 1995, Color Photograph
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $100- $200
$600 Bids
"Big Blue" Canvas Reproduction Print by Doug Chinnery
Jul 16, 9:00 PM EDT
"Big Blue" Canvas Reproduction Print by Doug Chinnery
by Weatherham Estate Treasures
Est: $400- $450
$2900 Bids
After Weegee Macy's Parade Balloons Photographs, 2
Jul 14, 12:00 PM EDT
After Weegee Macy's Parade Balloons Photographs, 2
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $400- $600
$1000 Bids
Chandelier Canvas Reproduction By Ursula Abresch
Jul 11, 9:00 PM EDT
Chandelier Canvas Reproduction By Ursula Abresch
by Weatherham Estate Treasures
Est: $350- $450
$2500 Bids
31 STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS.
Jun 28, 1:00 PM CEST
31 STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €100- €150
€500 Bids
18 VUES STÉRÉOSCOPIQUES.
Jun 28, 1:00 PM CEST
18 VUES STÉRÉOSCOPIQUES.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €80- €100
€400 Bids
bp parity badge
Frits Wiggers - Mixed
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
Frits Wiggers - Mixed
by Art Atelier
Est: €100- €200
€350 Bids
bp parity badge
John de Rijke - Photolithograph
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
John de Rijke - Photolithograph
by Art Atelier
Est: €200- €300
€600 Bids
bp parity badge
Unknown / Unreadable Artist - Photolithograph on polymer resin plate
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
Unknown / Unreadable Artist - Photolithograph on polymer resin plate
by Art Atelier
Est: €100- €200
€250 Bids
bp parity badge
PHILIPPE PASQUA
Jun 23, 8:00 PM CEST
PHILIPPE PASQUA
by Absolute Auction
Est: €25,000- €30,000
€15,0000 Bids
Christian Gieraths Basketball hall. 2000
Jun 26, 2:00 PM CEST
Christian Gieraths Basketball hall. 2000
by Neumeister
Est: €2,000- €3,000
€1,9000 Bids
bp parity badge
PHILIPPE PASQUA
Jun 23, 8:00 PM CEST
PHILIPPE PASQUA
by Absolute Auction
Est: €25,000- €30,000
€15,0000 Bids
Mengershausen, Cornelia von: Variationen zum Thema Setz-Zeit
Jun 29, 2:00 PM CEST
Mengershausen, Cornelia von: Variationen zum Thema Setz-Zeit
by Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus
Est: €150- €200
€800 Bids
JULIAN GILBERT - UNTITLED (RECYCLING)
Jun 27, 11:00 AM EDT
JULIAN GILBERT - UNTITLED (RECYCLING)
by Capsule Gallery Auction
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Still Life Photography


Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus

Peter Karbstein - Kunst und Auktionshaus

Arenberg Auctions

Arenberg Auctions

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries

Auctions at Showplace

Auctions at Showplace