Still Life Series

2 minutes reading time


Still Life no. II - Cam 19

“Art is a lie that makes us realise truth”

- Pablo Picasso

The Still Life series are the first works that Pastel White released in 2020 as well as the first works that adhere to the Photography 5.1 manifesto (5.1.0). In these pieces Pastel White explores the notion of reality, its vulnerability to manipulation, its ability to deceive and ultimately, the possibility of its transformation into an altogether new reality.


Looking into the reflective sphere we seem to have an understanding of what reality is, and recognise it as such. We accept this image as a photograph and therefore as evidence that an event took place.


At this point we may move on, possibly taking away no more than the image’s aesthetic. However,  intrinsic to our contemporary society, is the knowledge that images can and often are manipulated. So, can we trust our eyes or do we place a question mark on what we see? If we do, can we ever trust evidence again? What certainty can we place on anything deemed to be realistic?

(Above) Various render passes / ways of seeing this digital reality.

This video was produced as a trailer for the first Still Life “shoot”. In the video we get to experience a selection of views from the 19 cameras in the scene. Due to the limits of computer power there is not yet an extensive record of the virtual world, but as new renders become available videos will be updated.

Audio: Autopop by Adam Johnson (Merck Records)

“digital realism becomes its own reality [...] leaving us contending with an inability to identify the difference between us and it-”

(Above) Selected shots from the same sphere drop. Please take a look at these to get a feel for what a change in lighting and different camera set-ups do to the falling sphere.

These works put the viewer at the centre of these questions by digitally fabricating a new reality, in which, as if painting a picture, each element in the image has been skilfully created. Reflected in the sphere are cameras and lights as well as hundreds of other items that would be expected for such a photo to be produced. By dutifully depicting a realistic scene, Pastel White aims to highlight our susceptibility to deception. For, in truth, we have passed the point in history when we could easily discern digital manipulation.


It is at this point where these works present an invitation for the mind to take a small step into the digital realm, where digital realism becomes its own reality rather than leaving us contending with an inability to identify the difference between us and it.

In the distance, way over our current technical horizon, it is possible to imagine that human consciousness will inhabit these digital realms the same way in which we inhabit the physical world today; and, the consequences of questions like, “What is real?” or “what can be considered real?” will be felt in full. It is likely, then, that in these new worlds, the concept of fact and fiction may be lost forever.

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(Below) A selection of images that show some of the elements that went into constructing the scene.

Still Life no. II - Cam 19