The Studio Table

It was 1994, I had been photographing tulips for ten years. It had been decided by Zelda Cheatle that the work should be published in book form later in the year.

I was preparing work for the book and also making new work. I felt that despite the intensity and variety of the work I had made that something was missing, an element needed to complete the narrative, but what? I was unable to decide.Then one morning I went into the room I was using as my morning studio ( I have never had, nor felt the need for, a dedicated, a ‘proper' studio). Working with daylight I follow the light, working in any space in my home where the light  beckons). On the table edge was a tulip leaf and a hammer, why the hammer? I can’t remember.I decided to make a photograph, of the space, the print on the wall, the table, the variety of materials that I used  in my images.

When the resulting print was made (Studio Table no.1)  I realized that this was the key to the missing element I had been seeking. The tulips were fresh, pristine. If I continued to photograph as the year advanced the tulips would wither and decay. Here was my narrative, I continued to make images including tape, a spirit level, my spectacles, a spray bottle. All the tools that contributed to the making  of a still life.

In the book (‘The Stilled Gaze’) each section of studio still life is introduced with a 'Studio Table’ image. The tulips deteriorating as the series progressed,and showing the materials and tools which are a necessary element in the production of the final staged image.


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