Cody Schlabaugh Brings a Colorful Twist to the Still-Life Genre

His Color Studies series examines the effects of tonal exaggeration on nostalgic household objects from the past.

In Color Studies, photographer Cody Schlabaugh stages dramatic compositions with iconic household objects, infused with a pop-art-like fetishization of artificial textures and color schemes. Lifeless stills and lively color combine to manifest a visual paradox, eerily enveloped in quietude. This body of work examines the formal qualities of color and its transformation of familiar objects by stripping them of their recognizable characteristics with the purpose of creating scenes that display a fleeting presence of human existence. Light and color go hand in hand to evoke a vivid sense of mood, emotion, and atmosphere. Color Studies also plays into the notion of collective nostalgia which surrounds vintage and antique objects. Feelings of longing for the past are formed from subjective depictions of idealized standards of living. Many of us see the past through the lens of kitsch curiosities left behind in brown boxes or attic spaces. By exaggerating the color of these mundane domestic objects, the compositions take on the allure of a distant time, or a surreal strangeness of a daydream.

Cody Schlabaugh was born and raised in Youngstown, OH and moved to Chicago two years ago to pursue a BA in Fine Art Photography at Columbia College Chicago. He currently works as an Intern at The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago’s South Loop.

Follow his latest projects on his website or Instagram.

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