Still Life (With Shoes)

While flipping through some of the INSANELY bloated September issues (I’m looking at you, Vogue) I came across an ad that took my breath away.  The Valentino Fall campaign is striking with it’s richly colored and layered “still lives” that are akin to renaissance era paintings seen in a museum.  Juxtaposed with a single garment it is, well…. so much more artistic than so many campaigns we see.


But something felt so familiar…. I could not help but think “I’ve seen this before…where was it?” And then after jogging my memory I remembered seeing these STUNNING images on photographer Conor Doherty’s site.  I think these would be pure insanity on a huge scale above a sofa.





And having worked with him before, I can attest to the fact that he is not only immensely talented but incredibly sweet too.  And I know that he can’t help but feel that all to familiar feeling of flattery mixed with anger at seeing your work copied (he shot these years ago…) It’s happened to all of us. I’ve had my entire blog design copied inch by inch never mind lots of room designs.  And I have been on the other side of it too, when given an image of someone else’s work and being told “I want my room to look just like this.” Nothing is more insulting to a creative person than being told to copy someone else.  There is no point in hiring a designer to copy someone, you hire them to translate your wishes into something unique just for you (and just by them).

Being copied means that you’ve done something that resonates so strongly with someone that they want to create it themselves exactly as you did.  So it’s a mixed bag- your work is oddly validated but at the same time cheapened. But as I am constantly reminded, nothing is truly original in this world and we all take inspiration, cues and ideas from one another on a daily basis.  It’s the nature of the creative beast, I think.

But I digress, back to the art of photography.  I am so enamored with large scale photography and desperate to find something stunning for above my sofa, much like Conor’s images above. This pictures just confirm my desire!









  1. Could it be then, that the gallery wall is making way for the huge statement piece? Or do you think both looks will reside in the same house?

    And having had my popular ikat design (that is my creation and not based on any traditional pattern) copied by a rug company and sold in Home Goods, I know how frustrating, and yet oddly comforting, it can be to have someone copy your work. And further frustrating when someone compares my design to someone else’s!

    But you’re right, it is hard to find truly original anything anymore.

    Gorgeous images, and one from IKEA no less!

  2. You should look into Samantha Contis. I have two of her large scale photographs and they are GORGEOUS. Her landscapes are absolutely beautiful. You’ve probably seen a lot of her work in the New York Times Magazine, Time, etc…, but she’s really a fine art photographer (and an exceptional one at that!).

  3. My husband and I eloped and obviously did not wear traditional wedding attire either. We did however have a friend who is a prof photog come along with us so we would have photos of it. Our fav photo was just of our shoes, while we were standing on the marble steps exactly where we first met and then wed 18 months later. We had it blown up to 36×24, printed on metallic paper, mounted and covered in acrylic (we used BumbleJax). Now it hangs over our mantel. Its both a beautiful photo and sentimental and we love the large(ish) size!

  4. In assigning blame and credit maybe you should consider where Connor got his inspiration–and the actual origin of both sets of photographs: dutch and spanish still life painters? One needs to be very careful in the short lived life span of the internet to actually understand that original content is ellusive and usually goes pretty far back in time….

  5. If you want an underwater shot get a go pro camera. We have them for many uses and they take incredible video that can freeze frame. Television crews use them also. Surprisingly affordable too !

  6. i’m confused. those are his photographs but wasn’t he paid to have them used in a national ad campaign?
    i can’t imagine they were used without his consent. am i missing something here? it seems to me that he would have agreed to this. and maybe you didn’t mean that at all, but that’s how it sounded to me.
    that said, i am asked all the time by clients to “paint something like this” and then they show me another artist’s work. usually michelle armas. i’m like…can’t you go and ask michelle to paint it for you? seems like the obvious choice but nope…people is cray.


  7. Oh, HOW I LUV LARGE photography “paintings!” These examples just give me chills and thrills. franki

  8. One of my favorite sources for large-scale photographs is National Geographic. A little random, I realize, but you can search their archives by city, or landmark, or favorite type of landscape (mountains, beaches, etc). Their prints are (relatively) inexpensive and the quality is usually very good. Granted, framing can be expensive, but it’s a decent alternative.

  9. I know you’re looking for something different, but I have to point out this very cool Italian artist. You should check out his work…he paints in layers of memories, visions of people, decor, wallpaper even, all layered to make you feel like you’re looking into someone’s memory of a date in time. Super, super, cool. I wonder if he’d even consider customizing a piece (so you have a vision of your own memories, or a client’s):

  10. There is a long history in art of appropriating compositions. The original photographer’s shoes and vanitas photos are a direct descendent of Dutch masters. We are very lucky right now to have The Girl With a Pearl Earring Vermeer and several Rembrants and other Dutch vanitas paintings at the High Museum in Atlanta right now. You cannot copyright and idea, but you can copyright and exact composition – the second photographer’s work is in the spirit of the first, but is not a direct copy.

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