ArtExhibitionsFlowers, Fruits, Books, Bones: Still Life from the Center for Creative Photography
Special Installation

Flowers, Fruits, Books, Bones: Still Life from the Center for Creative Photography

December 5, 2015 to May 15, 2016 Located in the Doris and John Norton Gallery for the Center for Creative Photography

What is still life? Although at its most basic still life is an assemblage of inanimate objects, historically the term refers to artworks that engage with concepts of achievement, ephemerality, and mortality. They rely on symbolic objects to suggest impermanence: flowers, fruit, books, bones. The English term “still life” contrasts with the French term for the same genre, nature morte, literally “dead nature.”

Still Life
Johan Hagemeyer, Untitled


Unlike paintings, which are primarily intended as artworks, a still life photograph may originally have been made for another purpose. In Flowers, Fruits, Books, Bones: Still Life from the Center for Creative Photography, the exhibition features photographs initially made as descriptive documents intended for a range of uses, from advertisements to teaching aids. Regardless of intention, the exhibition explores how photographers use the characteristics of the medium such as focus, abrupt framing, and detailed description to extract, isolate, and describe their subjects. They direct our attention to shapes, textures, details, edges, colors, negative spaces, shadows, and unexpected angles.


Johan Hagemeyer, Untitled, 1930s. Collection Center for Creative Photography, © 2013 Jeanne Hagemeyer, all rights reserved.

Wright Morris, Straightback Chair

A more common genre in paintings, the exhibition includes paintings from Phoenix Art Museum’s collection, inviting viewers to examine the ways photographers have approached the still life genre as compared to their painter counterparts. Each of the works invite the viewer to slow down, to leave our normal lives behind, if only for a moment, and lavish our attention on each of these unique objects. For a moment, in the gallery, all motion, all life, is stilled.

This exhibition is organized by The Center for Creative Photography and Phoenix Art Museum, with support provided by Peter F. Salomon and InFocus.


Wright Morris, Straightback Chair, Norfolk, Nebraska, The Home Place, 1947. Collection Center for Creative Photography, © 2003 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.


On view for a limited time, exhibitions present art from across the centuries and the globe, from iconic fashion to Old Master paintings, contemporary photography to historical objects of Asia.


Discover the biographies, histories, and works of featured artists in the Phoenix Art Museum Collection.


Featuring more than 20,000 objects in nine collecting areas, the collection spans many cultures and periods, bringing the world to our city, and our city to the world.


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