Theo Deproost, A Photographer In London, Gives the Inanimate An Alien Life
Taking photographs of objects in galleries and museums is nothing new in fine art photography — think, for example, of the work of Louise Lawler. What Theo Deproost brings to the theme of museum photography is his experience assisting at a big fashion photography studio in London, where he worked after graduating from Falmouth University with a degree in photography with honors in 2013. As an assistant, Deproost learned the intricate mechanics of still life photography.
“University was a great environment for fostering more original fine art ideas, which I hope come through in my work now,” he told PDNedu. “When I left the course, I found my technical knowledge was relatively basic because it was so focused on ideas and concept behind the work. The university wasn’t critical enough of the technique.”
After spending three years assisting mainly in still life, he was ready to begin focusing on personal work. In early 2017, he approached the Museum In The Park, which is based Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom, with a proposal to photograph some of the objects in their collection. They agreed not only to grant him access, but also to host an exhibition of the resulting photographs in their galleries in 2020.
Entitled “Lost in Time,” the series is a work in progress. Currently, it includes photographs of gems that are easily mistaken for alien terrains; vivid, glowing portraits of butterflies; and eerie photographs of taxidermy animals. To photograph them, Deproost travels to Gloucestershire with his gear kit; the final images are the resulting of many different shots digitally stitched together to create an ideal version of the object.
“The form and texture of all of them are very interesting,” Deproost says. “I suppose it’s just focusing on that form, and maybe trying to create strong feelings from the picture, alluding to the slightly wider narrative, which I hope will be evocative. I want the pictures to remind the viewer of somewhere they’ve been, or a science fiction or fantasy film, or their idea of what another planet may look like.”
Along with working on “Lost in Time,” Deproost has found considerable success as a commercial photographer. Recent clients include MTV and Women To Look Up To, a nonprofit that creates Christmas tree toppers in the likenesses of Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé and Serena Williams.
Additionally, “Lost in Time” has won awards, including first place in the Personal Work category in the PDN Photo Annual 2018, and an Honorable Mention in the still-life category of the Paris Photo Prize 2018.
Below is a selection of images from “Lost in Time.” All images © Theo Deproost.