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Name: Julie Green
School: The Priory School-Orpington
Year: Year 13
Inspiration: My fascination in death has lead me to pursue Anthropology, the study of humanity- human life and origins through social interactions. However, my camera always being a part of me has channelled me towards visual anthropology. Working on the theme of Combinations and Alliances for my A-level exam prep I was intrigued by 17th century Vanitas, Funery Art from Eastern Europe. The combination of life and death in still life paintings caught my interest as the beauty and ugliness of both elements complement each other and inevitably influenced my direction. Juxtaposing items were traditionally used to show the natural balances between humanity and vanity where skulls, candles and clocks were used to symbolise death through time and then vanities were presented as objects such as jewellery, books, and other expensive things. Still life painter Harmen Steenwijch and still life photographer Gary Hichin have inspired my approach to Vanitas. The objects, lighting, composition and the mood of their pieces enabled me to understand the meaning of Vanitas. The idea that people love their pleasures in life more than life itself, materialism is the death of you as you become absorbed into a façade.
Description: This image shows a combination of the colour schemes found in traditional Vanitas, and the object and obscure placements of contemporary Vanitas. The cliché strawberries and cream were used with the intent of expressing the nature of society today: obsessed with consumerism, buying in to what we are told. The focus on the cream falling over the edge is another key feature found in traditional Vanitas pieces, I focused in this particular piece on capturing angles to emphasise this gentle trail down the table. Although also having brighter images of this piece I have taken preference of this darker one because although not being to see sterile nature of contemporary Vanitas there is still a feel of disaster and ruin about the piece.
Medium: Digital Photography
Width: 15.742708333 Height: 10.503958333
Keywords: vanitas, still life, photography