The following is an extract from Inspired by Nature: Creating a Personal & Natural Interior, the new book by the renowned stylist Hans Blomquist.
The next time you are going to take a photograph for Instagram, or just for yourself, zoom out a little and look at the bigger picture of a part of your home. You will soon see that you have many larger vignettes that, without you realising it, have become everyday still lifes. It is easy to think of still lifes as just being collections of small items on a table or another surface, but they can also be on a larger scale and include pieces of furniture. Visiting the houses featured in this book, as well as some of the locations I have styled for photoshoots for work, I have often been amazed by how many large-scale vignettes people have in their homes.
Collections on display
I photographed a home in Portland, Oregon, for this book, and the whole interior consisted of such pleasing and carefully considered large-scale still lifes that I had to photograph them all.
I love everything about this vignette–the collections of old alarm clocks and vintage signs, the desk and the wooden and metal stool, all sitting so beautifully against the wood-panelled wall, which had been freshened up with a new coat of white paint but otherwise left in its original state.
Beauty all around
A place you use every day becomes a vignette when viewed through a camera. This desk area has unintentionally become a beautiful still life, almost as well composed as a painting. A pair
of vintage leather and wooden chairs positioned in front of an old wooden storage unit topped with a collection of vintage items form an eye-catching arrangement.
When creating a still life, you can choose a handful of related objects or random items that have nothing in common, you can stick to a colour palette or use similar materials. There is no right or wrong.
Above is an example of unrelated items brought together to create a still life on a bedroom dresser/hutch. Opposite, on a simple wall shelf, a collection of small green glass bottles sits very well with vintage paintbrushes and books, creating a display that is uncomplicated but eye-catching.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hans Blomquist is an art director and stylist who is highly sought after by many prestigious brands. Hans started out working for IKEA in Sweden and ended up art directing their catalogue. His clients include Harrods, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, H&M and IKEA. Hans lives in Paris and is also the author of The Natural Home.
The images are the copyright of Ryland Peters & Small, taken from the book Inspired by Nature: Creating a Personal & Natural Interior. Stylist and photographer: Hans Blomquist. Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small.