The beauty of things

May 04, 2018

The beauty of things

I wanted the first campaign for C.W. James to have a quiet contemplative feel; to find beauty in humble materials. A rock. A vegetable. A glass of water. To prepare for the shoot, weeks were spent slowly collecting rocks from my garden, scavenging secondhand bookshops and trying to source the perfect olive green linen. These were all placed in a box to be taken to the studio. But my favourite prop was secretly gifted to me by my 5-year-old son, who had picked a dandelion and dropped it into my prop box, where it dried out and lay undiscovered until the day of the shoot. This little dead weed gifted us the perfect pop of decaying yellow.

Ironically, the image also recalls 16th century Dutch Vanitas. A vanitas painting is a still life that contains objects symbolic of the transient nature of life. Quite often jewellery,money and luxury fabrics (the wealth) were painted alongside flowers fruits and skulls (the passage of time resulting in death). 16th century viewers of these paintings were asked to reconsider their coveting of worldly goods and to remember their mortality. My intention with these images was certainly not to remind you of your mortality and to possibly encourage you to covet material objects but, like the sweet-and-sour hit of salted caramel, to offset the reflective permanent beauty of each C.W. James piece with the more ephemeral quiet beauty of a dead flower.


Above Viola bracelet by C. W. James

image credits: Creative Director - Karen James
Producer -Ashly Mileski @Artboxblack
Photographer - Victoria Zschommler
Digital Operator- Ilona Savcenko
H&MA- Karen Burton
Model- Isabella Carlstrom

Painting: Vanitas Still Life 1630 by Pieter Claesz  


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