According to Harun Farocki, today's photographers working in advertising are, in a way, continuing the tradition of 17th century Flemish painters in that they depict objects from everyday life - the "still life". The filmmaker illustrates this intriguing hypothesis with three documentary sequences which show the photographers at work creating a contemporary "still life": a cheese-board, beer glasses and an expensive watch.
Still Life, Harun Farocki, 1997
This remarkable film by Harun Farocki is a powerful essay and commentary on contemporary life. It compares the still-lifes of the Dutch painters with the still-lifes of today: Photographs for advertisements for cheese, beer and watches. Farocki's film is about objects because, according to the director, "Gods and heroes are no longer imaginable." Using behind-the-scenes glimpses of modern advertising offices, where employees toil at the proper placement of objects for maximum sales effect, Farocki presents a vision of our reality in which objects bear witness to their producers. In these objects is a new image of man. With English commentary.
The cheese board