A visual study of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death.

A vanitas, for the uninitiated, is a classic form of still life. It’s a work of art that uses symbolism to show how selfish and insignificant so many of our human concerns can be in the grand scheme of time. In showing us the omnipresence of death, they make us reconsider the amount of energy we put into such fleeting, shallow concerns.

Inspired by the spirit of a vanitas, this study is a meditation on the frailty of human existence, and all the ways the pleasures and strivings  that consume us in the moment may not really matter in the long-term. This creative, however, isn’t meant to be a morbid dwelling on death. It’s a reminder, instead, to the living: The present is a gift we should embrace, share, and simply enjoy. It’s a lesson I’m trying to learn myself.

Traditional vanitas are full of objects that symbolise the ephemeral nature of all of the worldly goods and pleasures we place so much emphasis on. Think skulls, extinguished candles, maps and sea shells. For this creative, I decided to focus on two objects that are particularly evocative for me: flowers and fruit. 

Swelling from tender bud to full bloom, flowers are associated with youth, beauty and pleasure. But because their lives are so short--sometimes just a day--they’re a potent symbol of the brevity and fragility of life. Every flower in this study, bar a few, were actually foraged along the highway near the property or from our gardens themselves.

A symbol of aging, mature fruits symbolize fertility, abundance, in the figurative sense of wealth and well-being. a number of fruit has its value: fall of man is denoted by pears, tomatoes, citrus fruit, grapes, peaches and cherries, and of course apple. erotic undertones are figs, plums, cherries, apples or peaches.

I realise that these images are filled with death, but my hope is that they inspire you to live one moment at a time, knowing nothing lasts forever.

This study was created during the early stages of Lune, when the raw and exposed backdrop led to a deeper appreciation of her roots and the narrative that is to come



Creative - Lune x Coyote Flowers

Photography - Matt Henry

Words edited - Sarah Laing