Thomas Adank

Swiss still-life photographer, studied at Royal College of Arts

Brief History of Still Life

vanitas Adriaen van Utrecht, Vanitas Still Life with Flowers and Skull, 1642. Oil on canvas, 67 x 86 cm.

cezanne Paul Cezanne: Table, Napkin and Fruit (~1900)

Oil painting. Two vases, a liquor bottle, a large knife, a bird, a glass of brown liquid, fruit, and a fractal shape levitate above a table half-covered in a rough table-cloth. The sea is seen in the background. Salvador Dali: Living Still Life (1956)

object move around the space

penn Erving Penn: Frozen Foods (1977)

removes elements of reality (like table, tablecloth) from the still life focusses on the narrative frozen food, frozen to shape

archetypl vision of switzerland wanted to represent a forest, single trees on white background you can have a real object that doesn't match the reality you are trying to show

usa baltimore study, kids draw fish, some kids draw fish fingers for the kids that was more accurate representatio than an actual fish

commision for a book dealer arts and crafts house in norfolk images for a catalogue had to incorporate weird objects into catalogue photos, created narractives created a system to tell the story he wanted to tell backdrop light tried to create a story to match the story of the books

linked historic images of the place to contemporary ones, uses backdrop to block off certai parts

commision for the royal college of art 70 different objects for catalogue how do you ceate an interesting system group work by tutor integrated a print of the gallery space in rc into studio setup

Comission for London Borough of Waltham Forest

Comission for Stockholm Culture House

Fashion magazine ongoing project interesting, strange way of showing brands in nre context chanel tennis ball cheap face creams are jealous of fancy chanel cream finds weird shit on ebay

royal college graduation project studied photography, didn't end up taking any photographs made fountains instead fairy liquid on chocolate fountains smell noise absolute representation of the goal of a photograph: being looked at


A lot of your pictures seem to require very elaborate physical setups. (Having pieces of marble cut to shape, complex lighting setups). Surely, a lot of this could be achieved a lot cheaper digitally. Why do you choose to not do that?

a big part of the work is that it is real there is a return to a reality of real objects shot on film medium format even if you dont see the effort, the fact that is real makes it more impactful human aspect, engage with real people, going around london or whereever finding stuff if ou do it digitally you loose contact obvious retouch is interesting, show process

obvious alterations in digital are an interesting thing to look at

Could you talk a bit more about how you use lighting to convey meaning in your photographs

the light is one of the most important tool to show an intention, you have to have an intention in your lighting that tells a narrative lighting surrounds the oobject to make them appear hyper real

lighting is difficult when you're not in the studio huge setup, multiple lights light up background, foreground, different layers of light some of them have 7 different light sources to create perfect reflections, can get quite technical

when you are building compositions, do you follow certain rules

composition, choice of objects main problem of the work secondary objects to surround the main subjects and create a narrative theres not really a system, but often a sense of humor things people can relate to (pop culture references)

Does the symbolism overpower the visual integrity

hopefull it doesnt. You often see geometric shapes and stuff, hopefull the actual meaning isn't sactrificed to create composition the pictures would say something else when they looked different, very precise message