Still Life: Make your brand stand out with visual simplicity

Main Image Detail455668509 / Jeffrey Coolidge / Iconica


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As the classic Fine Art form is proving attractive to photographers and brands, it’s time to explore the subtle drama of this super-constructed minimalism.

Looking to the future, we will be seeing more high-concept still life, full of ambiguity and surrealism that breathes life into classic concepts. Historically, still-life painting was full of metaphors and symbolism and showed the painter’s skill in craftsmanship and virtuosity. Each one of these images is a descendant from that tradition: deliberate, meticulous in composition, arrangement and light. Furthermore, they lend themselves to all kinds of interpretation, making them highly valuable for communicating a variety of ideas.


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Photographers are embracing a super-constructed and minimalistic approach in terms of use of space, number of elements, hue, and craft. Limited color or lack of color also plays a leading role. There is a power of subtlety in these palettes that helps to create an even stronger visual impact by making a quiet statement where one’s perception can easily rest on the subject and meditate on the concept. 


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Dry and dreamlike 

Throughout the year, there have been similar palettes and production design in film, such as Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and Her. Recent museum exhibitions celebrate this aesthetic as well, such as the masterfully dry and dreamlike Magritte retrospective at the MOMA, and James Turrell’s at the Guggenheim and LACMA, which showcased his restrained yet impactful use of light and space.


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Subtle wit 

Although, these images are minimalistic in style and method, their concepts and visual attributes are complex. They are not only highly constructed but are full of subtle wit. They are static yet dynamic. They are dramatic but not forced. A great deal of thought and effort goes into their creation, but they look beguilingly simple – even effortless. They are effective because our eyes don’t get caught up in the technicalities. For viewers and advertisers, they offer the seductive promise of a purity of vision.


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About the Author

Amy Lehfeldt – Senior Art Director, Getty Image

With a degree in fashion design, Amy Lehfeldt became a costumer for Disney/MGM before taking up art direction and creative production assignments for select clients in the fashion, retail, and food industries including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Godiva, Chicago Magazine, Bon Appetit, and world renowned comedy troupe The Second City. Amy is currently Senior Art Director at Getty Images, where she has conceived and produced hundreds of shoots spanning a variety of subjects and production sizes.

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