Oliver Richon

Richon has made many photographs of studio still lifes compositions that typically include fabric drapes. Writing in Artist Sophie Arkette wrote in Studio International that:

 "Richon approaches his compositions from a painterly direction. When he positions an object in a way that protrudes off a table, he is making reference to the way still life painters, such as Chardin display their understanding of perspective. Similarly, his use of draped material ... where it covers the table and its contents like a shroud, can be seen to echo the use of draped fabric within the gamut of traditional still life painting."

Writing in Frieze, Sarah James described his work as, "theoretically heavyweight and invested in elaborate deconstruction, his work is also cheeky and flirts with the surreal."
Richon's work has an almost painterly quality to it, again reminisant of the 17th Century Dutch artists. He composes his images to mimic the set ups seen in their paintings. Unlike Sharon Core whose work can be seen as a direct recreation of an existing piece, Richon, only imitates the style and technique. He also strips back the objects in the images to just one or two, placing the emphasis on the object, eliminating confusion for the viewer of what the focal point is, supposed to be. 

As can be seen from the above images Richon's work has a very painterly quality. It employs a shallow depth of field which causes a softness in distant objects, which adds to a painterly, almost impressionistic feeling to the piece. The lighting again adds to this, by use of a softbox to spread and, as it's name suggests, soften the light and make it more even, whilst still allowing areas of light and dark to define shapes and objects. This technique of modeling and defining objects through the use of highlights and shadows is known as chiaroscuro
As part of a workshop I experimented with similar set ups and arrangements of objects, and played with different forms of lighting to generate a similar effect

Rembrandt was a master of this art,  and can be seen in many of his works, especially in his portraits, where it is used to great effect to describe the forms and contours of the face

Rembrandt - Self Portrait

As part of a workshop I experimented with similar set ups and arrangements of objects, and played with different forms of lighting to generate a similar effect

Some of my favourite images processed in lightroom

When selecting images, for a final piece, arranging objects for a composition, lighting them in a specific way, or even the way they are printed, (colour/B&W, size/dimensions, media) we need to keep in mind the message we want to express. This, message may seem to be at total odds with the items featured, for example with the image of the pointe shoes above I could say that the message I am putting across is one which questions racism and the arts. Now at first glance there may be no obvious connection between the two, though closer contemplation may see a link between, the small number of high profile, African American ballet dancers and the lone, isolated set of pointe shoes, it is important i feel to understand the context our images will be read in, and for us to understand the context, and circumstances surrounding other images if we are to critique them with any validity.
This is discussed further in this video with Oliver Richon

Bibliography and References

Arkette, S "Olivier Richon: Anima(l)," Studio International, February 26, 2009
James, S "Olivier Richon: Ibid Projects," Frieze, May 2009.