The magic of still life narrated by Charlotte Everer

If certain areas of photography are represented in the cinema or in the press, then we know very little about the profession of a still-life photographer. We caught up with one of the pros of this art, who told us about the downside of her job.

When we talk about art photography, fashion photography, or portrait photography, the professions behind these terms are generally quite straightforward. Without necessarily going into details, we always have a little idea of ​​the nature of these activities. This is not necessarily the case for still life photography.

From a pictorial point of view, still life consists of assembling inanimate objects, most often baskets of fruit and flowers, or even animal carcasses. While artists have depicted still life since antiquity, the term did not appear until the 17th century, when the genre became particularly popular.

Realistic representations are not without symbolism and the still life also represents the passage of time and the transience inherent in man. Does this mean that the still-life photographer spends his time immortalizing fruit baskets or arranging them Arcimboldo fashion?

To see more clearly, we meet Charlotte Everer, a Paris still-life photographer, who has a lot to say about her beautiful profession. In his words, still life photography is a small niche in the world of commercial photography, which is concerned with anything that is not alive (hence the name still life). It can be perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, leather goods, electronic gadgets, or designer furniture.

In the broad field of photography, still life photography is a major specialty. Charlotte Everard has chosen to focus on the area of ​​luxury and ‘good things’. She can thus spend hours, alone with her lens, zooming in on a watch or leather case with incredible precision.

There is a distinct atmosphere in still life photography, such as a “A true microcosm inside the world of commercial photography”, Explains the young woman. She points out with a smile that her field definitely seems less “attractive” than fashion photography, for example, because these sessions are often done with music and are packed with many professionals and assistants.

Photographer says: “Let the light cross there!”, And there was light

Unlike fashion photography, the team is often very small in still life photography and the relationship between the photographer and the object depicted becomes almost intimate. After the meeting comes the dressage and then the photography:

“In the middle of the room there is something, we turn on the light and there we begin to discover the beginning of the story, let’s begin to understand what it looks like, its reaction to light and movement. And as we go forward, we begin to build the story by adding light or reflection to finally show something that was just waiting to be It’s being highlighted. I love the idea of ​​starting from black to show what he was just asking to be enlightened, it’s so sexy.”

Like a sculptor revealing a figure in a block of marble, the photographer lights up and creates the meaning that resides in the material. The photographer plays and works with light down to the millimeter: “A photo session is always a choice. Every second you wonder if the light is better on the left, or on the right, or a little more up or down.”

In addition to the artist’s work, it is thus also the work of a physicist. Charlotte Everard confirms it. She appreciates the encounter that her work allows between aesthetic choices and the physical knowledge of light – the displacement of the rays, their intensity, materials and the way they interact with each other.

The photographer becomes a chemist when she prepares her collection and explodes, say, roses with liquid nitrogen for an aromatic photo shoot. And so she had a huge pint of liquid nitrogen handed to her, in which she drowns roses that, on contact with nitrogen, freeze and become very brittle.

You must then meticulously place these fragile roses on the board, before blasting them with a rubber band that is released at a very precise time and at a very high speed. The burst of flowers is captured in full flight by a high blink speed that allows seeing things that the naked eye can’t detect.

If the result is great, the installation is worth “Feng Shui Temple”, says Charlotte Everer, who says her main work tools range from tweezers to small brooches. The still life photographer finds himself like a conductor who ensures that the producer’s story is told in the most beautiful way.

As Charlotte Everard points out: “We’re not there so much to showcase the product as to tell the story that goes with the product.” It is the work of staging and the atmosphere that allows for the lighting “Apply the shade and suggest a curve and feel for the material, a glossy finish on the side for example.”

Live from still life photography

Fascinated by the arts and more specifically the way photography blends arts and sciences, Charlotte Everer decided to study photography in fine arts. If you resort to still life photography, it is precisely because the attention to detail and subtlety that must be shown suits her personality.

After her experience as an assistant, she was able to establish her own studio and create an address book. It’s important to specialize and talk about your work, because brands cater to photographers based on their work: clients usually choose artists they agree with on how to work.

To speak more realistically, this means for example that for perfumes, the liaison agency will start working on the story about the fragrance and define the font, thus choosing who to target the product and the message the brand wants to communicate. .

Then the visual elements for the campaign can begin to be considered and the biggest brands call in an art buyer, who must find a group of photographers who can match the demand for visuals. Each of these photographers prepares a project and the brand assigns the most suitable project for their vision.

Whether the photograph is taking itself or creating projects for a brand, the business of photographers is a long-standing business. As in many areas, the most beautiful work of these lighting craftsmen is to make people believe that their work is very simple.

© Charlotte Everr

You can find Charlotte Everard’s work on her website.

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