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An (Oft-Copied) Still-Life Photographer Shows Us How It’s Done

Packing peanuts, crumpled-up paper, a chic side table tipped on its side — no, it’s not your average moving scene of chaos in transit, but rather one of the unexpected, still-life compositions devised by New York–based photographer Joanna McClure. McClure’s work often shows up in places like T Magazine or for brands like Loeffler Randall, but her photos walk the line between the commercial and fine art — abstractly subjective, employing everyday materials into thought-provoking scenarios. “I think most of my inspiration derives from everyday things I see or experience,” explains McClure. “A lot of it comes from reading and then translates into visual interpretations, which also explains my draw to tactile materials and color.” McClure’s photos often juxtapose ultra-luxurious objects — a marble-topped Minotti table, a Tiffany timepiece — with the most pedestrian materials: cardboard, bubble wrap, a buffing cloth. It’s that tension, as well as an ability to see things not as they simply are, but rather what they could be — that makes McClure one of our favorite photographers around — even as her style is copped by a thousand budding photogs. We’re excerpting a few of our favorites from her portfolio today.

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