Still Lifes & Shelfies – The Art of Repeat!

Still Lifes & Shelfies – The Art of Repeat!

As ‘NeoNordic’ and ‘Scandinavian Chic’ become buzzwords in design-conscious homes across the UK- it got me thinking about how most trends are generally cyclical! If you think Still Lifes (think meticulously administered narratives of home/travel/food- things set against equally considered backdrops), and Shelfies (shelves or any homespace that have a few lifestyle markers indicating the sort of things “you’re into” ) are a new age phenomenon – think again! Both art forms ironically trace back to Northern Europe and as far back as the 1600′s. I’ll let this lovely page on Wikipedia fill you in on the engrossing details of Flemish and Dutch still lifes ! ;P

Every year, I ‘cache’ a few words in my mind and they become linguistic symbols of what moved the year in my memory – this is apart from my children ‘brunging’ me water or ‘growding up’ etc! 2013 definitely included “government” and “surveillance” as we horrifyingly zoned in on information breaches, security or the lack thereof. One that’ll hold strong for 2014 is the ‘shelfie’, the sorta more intelligent version of the ubiquitous selfie that’s been around in it’s evolutionary trajectory from the early kissy face to the more suprise-driven ‘o’-pout – often with a strategic but oh-so totally unpremeditated lipstick held against the cheek! Barring the lipstick, Van Gogh’s self portraits weren’t too different. :)

 

apples, still life, shelfie, vintage, farmhouse, reclaimed wood table, baking

Still Life of the birth of an Apple&Cinnamon Swirl…or bun!

And then there’s “artisanal” – I love this word! Added to a deli menu or sribbled on a chalkboard, it inevitably raises the mark-up on everything – Herb Butter. Handmade Crisps. Wooden Cacti! And linen. Non-artisanal linen blouses? just so wrong! Artisan in my humble opinion is the new ‘Designer’ – before “buying designer” came to be seen as plain lack of good sense or insight :)

I am often well aware (Yes, I am!) that all the aerial shots I take of tables set for the making of cinnamon apple rolls or shelves dotted with my kitchen pride can be construed as a form of self-absorbtion, adding to a world already free-falling into an obsession of pictorally cataloging their lives! Why else would there be place for something like Instagram or the “VSCo Grid”?! <bows deferentially!>

 

Apple&Cinnamon swirl, dessert, pastry, baking, foodporn, blossom

Still Life of the existence of the Apple&Cinnamon swirl…or bun in Spring!

To me, shelfies and still life shots are very similar to dressing up and personal grooming -the reason why we generally don’t prefer to dress in nondescript clothing – grey – lacking any ornamentation or accessories. (Arguably, it all hits “Taupe” when you move past your mid-thirties, but moving swiftly on…!) Why should we condescend on a description of a life/hobby/ pursuit which is invested with self-expression – regardless of how self-involved it be! After all, being well groomed is not an act of philanthropy either!  If the penny hasn’t dropped yet, this post IS in the defence of every Blogger, Facebooker and Instagrammer’s right to take “carefully assembled snapshots of beautiful things”‘!

 

croissants, french, pastry, foodporn, bonne maman, jam

A Cornucopia of Croissants..and a nifty Jam!

The ease of creating a beautiful picture without a lot of expensive equipment, calling for an eye for beauty and attention to detail (which is admittedly a dying artform) , is all that’s needed! If it was good enough for Cezanne and his apples – strategically placed for weeks till he completed a painting that would forever be viewed as the inner landscape of his psycholgical state, it’s good enough for me!  My friends argue that in the making of beautiful settings , spontaneity is lost. I agree, there’s a a place for cheap plastic bowls filled with uninspiring potato crisps and cheese puffs, and a place for pull-ons and jogging bottoms; but sometimes you want to go that extra mile, set the table. Invest in your aesthetic. Even if you walk that path one corner at a time! ;)

brown paper packages, string, ale, stout, local, grain, Norfolk

Still Life : An Urban Ploughman’s Lunch!

There is nothing original in our obsessive control-freakishness to pictorally depict our world… generations dating back to the Pharoahs of Egypt did it! We do it exponentially to our circumstance of modernity! Art has always been about creating one small aesthetically gratifying corner, about beauty reigning in the face of the inane (often personally translates as my one clever corner in a tip inhabited by two severely messy little girls – probably a reason why young mums have taken to it like fish to water -  the idea of controlling a few cubic feet in a home spiralling out of control!) :)

All considered, we must admit that all trends go from hot to NOT – we bore of it as it oversaturates our senses and we take on something fresh. According to sociologists and those who actually know what they’re talking about (coughs!), trends that are a no-no regain their appeal 50 years into their death when they begin to be viewed as ‘quaint’! That leaves me assured that in time, my grandchildren or great grandchildren will come pottering about, looking for my esteemed MacBook or dSLR-  to dust off and complete their cleverly curated and rejigged tableaux of 3D simulated reality!

Snap!

 

map, Boden, diary, coffee

Somewhat Shelfie : Destination Abroad. Holiday to be undertaken Circa Autumn 2014.

 

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you’re very likely to enjoy these too :) :

Retro-Chic and the Cult of Neo-Sobriety!

Like Rain on Warm Scented Earth!

www.intrepidmisadventurer.com

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Super Busy Mum
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Comments

  1. pretty photos! have you seen the marks and spencer food borchure? i alwats get those as the paper and the photos are amazing! Your photos are so nice =) #PoCoLo

  2. Great post, and it really got me thinking, how we pose and sell our lives to the general public through all forms of social media. It’s never quite the truth is it? But having said that, I do love looking at beautifully constructed interiors and food in blogs; it’s nice to look at beauty and the way someone has turned the mundane into something visually pleasing. X Ps. Well done on becoming a BiBs finalist. X

  3. Kanchan Char says:

    It never is, but I suppose there’s comfort in recording dreams, or life as we wish it! :) thank you Sadie and all the best to you too, love your writing!

  4. Hmmm, not sure what my shelves say about me……..books everywhere, pins from various sewing projects that have scattered and not returned to their rightful home and many other small bits that are not in their home but a shelf will do whilst they pause on their onward journey. Dust, always dust.

    Love your photos ;)

  5. Kanchan Char says:

    Sounds about perfect to me :) . As I mentioned, mine are a clever corner that’s in order in a home spiralling out of control :). Shelves I think, are meant to be a temporary residing space, I find all sorts of things there, half eaten biscuits, keys that open nothing… sometimes a cup of tea half drunk! Ah, yet we press on for that perfect beauty ;P . Thanks for stopping by, honey. xx

  6. Kanchan Char says:

    Thanks Merlinda, what a lovely thing to say :) Gosh, I love going through cookbooks and brochures and gasp at the beautifully taken pics! I love food photography and I’m afraid my food pics still look better than they taste…such a long way to go to get both workin for you ;P Thank you for stopping by. xx

  7. You have an incredible eye for detail and your photos look so amazingly professional. Wonderful post. Well done. thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  8. Kanchan Char says:

    Thanks honey! :) That’s so sweet…Aprreciate you stopping by :) x

  9. Your photography is amazing, I think visuals is what draws people in and your pictures certainly are very captivating. I’ve been trying to improve mine recently x

  10. Such great photo’s. In the world of social media we do sell our lives, the out-takes rarely get a look in x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Blogging as therapyMy Profile

  11. As always, your writing is equal in beauty and enchantment to your photography. I love how you view life and I definitely agree about new Mums endeavouring to savour one tiny element of control amongst the chaos, I shall be joining that group in society very shortly!xxx
    Hannah Budding Smiles recently posted…Vegetable Curry and Garlic Naan RecipeMy Profile

  12. Kanchan Char says:

    I agree, Aby…Social media is a stilted examination of one’s life. I wasn’t saying ‘let’s all buy into the trend of showing off our lives through shelfies and other pictoral avenues’, so hope I haven’t come across that way! :) In fact, this was the thrust of the post ” There is nothing original in our obsessive control-freakishness to pictorally depict our world… generations dating back to the Pharoahs of Egypt did it! We do it exponentially to our circumstance of modernity! Art has always been about creating one small aesthetically gratifying corner, about beauty reigning in the face of the inane (often personally translates as my one clever corner in a tip inhabited by two severely messy little girls – probably a reason why young mums have taken to it like fish to water – the idea of controlling a few cubic feet in a home spiralling out of control!)” :) However, like any trend goes, this too shall bite the dust soon…I hope the slight sarcasm and ‘spoofy’ element came through in the titles of my pictures. Thank you for stopping by. x

  13. Kanchan Char says:

    ah, the chaos …you wait Mrs. :D You’d make such a fabby mum, Hannah :) Oh the appeal of one neat shelf is endless…as I said, a home spiralling out of control! Van Gogh created beauty is a decrepit home, under immense psychological stress, maybe it was his way of controlling or centering his emotions. That poor ear ;). Most artists were poor, a lot of them were hungry as they made visual depictions of bread, cheese and fruit! Trends aways work in circular fashions and that was what I was trying to say…thanks for stopping by. xx

  14. cant stop thinking that pictures look very professional, i caught myself thinking was it photoshoped or how the background looks)

  15. Kanchan Char says:

    I’ll take it as a compliment that you thought my pictures looked professional, thanks so much Victoria!:) They’re pretty much straight out of the camera barrng some exposure and contrast adjustments-Something you can do on Picmonkey :) x

  16. I loved the play on Van Gogh’s self portraits and our very ‘spontaneous’ self clicks . The comparison is delightfully wicked :P

  17. Your photos just lured me in completely…I practically got lost in them! Thanks so much for linking up! #MMWBH xx
    Super Busy Mum recently posted…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Roleplay ReviewMy Profile

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