Still Life with Whiskey

We absolutely love the photography of Anke Loots. Her work, oscillating between still-life and portraiture, is characteristically dark, elegant, mysterious, and evocative – perfectly suited to expressing the ambience of Irish whiskey sipping. For our latest Instagram project, we asked Anke to interpret the idea of ‘Still Life with Whiskey’, using natural light and delicate styling to beautiful effect. The results are nothing short of magical.

We caught up with her after the shoot to chat about the project, and her work in general.

Can you tell us about you interpreted the idea of “Still Life with Whiskey”?

When I heard the brief, the first image that came to mind was light shining through a glass on to the table. The image of sunlight playing on the bottles and through the liquid was really appealing to me. I thought that Jameson is often depicted in dark spaces, with more traditional product photography. I hoped that the light of the sun would bring new life to it. So, sunlight was really my inspiration.

That’s a good point. Whiskey is usually experienced in dark bars, but once you put some light through it you realise what a beautiful substance it really is.

There’s really something about sunlight, it brings everything to life. I thought it was exactly the right thing to bring the whiskey to life and give it a fresh look and feel.

Photography is essentially all about light and dark, but your work really brings that idea to the fore. There’s usually a dramatic interplay of light and shadow.

I think that sounds about right. I try to capture the light and the dark, not just in a literal sense, but also in the subject matter I choose to photograph. Life consists of yin and yang; in my photography I aim to portray the balance between the two.

The shadows are particularly bold. They become shapes, part of the picture’s form and composition.

It’s cool that you say that – I have an image that always comes to mind when I think about my photographs. It was shot in Sandy Bay with two of my friends running up a sand dune, and their combined shadows morph into this Indian goddess type creature. It’s burned into my mind.

You cut your teeth in photography by assisting Pieter Hugo, one of the country’s most famous artists. Is there anything in particular that has stuck with you from this formative time?

Aside from some of the technical things I learned, Pieter definitely taught me that as a creative person you need to develop a good business mind. Being an artist isn’t always enough.

Photography: Anke Loots
Styling: Kristi Vlok

See more of Anke’s work below and here.
Follow Anke on Instagram.
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