Things of Interest

5 Artists That Inspire Us – Erin O’Keefe

Bookblock Product Designer Fran shares what inspires her about photographer and architect Erin O’Keefe.

I love to explore collage and material in my work and the way I look at images is usually in a 3D, layered way; manipulating flat surfaces or print into other materials. Erin O’Keefe’s work is really the go to for all things lush, tactile and intriguing. Her simplicity and engagement in surface creates playful imagery which tests the viewer’s perception.  

It’s so easy nowadays to view artists work through Instagram and sometimes that can feel a little diluted or the wrong place to engage with artwork. But Erin O’Keefe has always kept the magic and tactility of her work even when viewed in this space. No image is too small, or material too basic to make into a beautiful image. That is for me the most engaging part of O’Keefe’s work is keeping things simple but importantly, intentional.

With O’Keefe’s work, there seems to be a bit of magic that happens between the still life space and the camera. Although created on a table top with small scale materials, looking at the images you feel like you’re in an abstract world, moving between walls, ceilings and floors, a sort of alternative reality both familiar and unfamiliar.

O’Keefe challenges the way we look at photography, constantly playing with scales and understandings of common materials. Photography more and more so in our digital and post-truth age plays with a dialogue of deception through the lens, and this is definitely explored in O’Keefe’s two-dimensional plane series, The Flatness

Objects that are flat appear two dimensional, shadows and edges seem to deceive the viewer. I think this is what I find most inspiring about O’Keefe’s work, the ability to create intriguing images from basic materials, to push the material to keep the viewer guessing.