Both a Photograph and a Painting: Still Life Arrangements and Portraits by Tineke Stoffels

Seeds, petals, loafs of bread, egg shells, orange peels, pots of honey, jars of oil arranged and exhibited carefully in indoor spaces – photographer Tineke Stoffels (born 1957, Den Helder, the Netherlands) captures the beauty of everyday objects in a style that resembles the still life paintings of the Dutch Golden Age. “One often wonders upon seeing my work,” writes the artist, “whether it’s a photograph or a painting. For me it’s both.”

Tineke’s stunning portfolio is divided into series: “Uyt Eenen Tijt”, “Momento Mori”, “Terroir”, “Recettes Provençales”, et cetera. Each project looks at specific themes, which may be a celebration of local cuisine, a reminder of the transience of life, the splendour of imperfection or the importance of temperance.

Tineke Stoffels

“Photography for me as a means of expression is the ideal combination of technology and design,” writes Tineke. “Because I think mainly in pictures, the camera helps me to visualise my thoughts and ideas. To get the result I’m striving for, I want to understand and master the techniques I require. I keep trying until I succeed and am satisfied. The biggest source of inspiration for me is the past. As a child I loved to listen to the teacher during history lessons at school. And I am still curious about the history of a region, a building, a city or village. I like to collect old jars, glass, textiles, and especially kitchen utensils found on flea markets.”

Tineke’s interest in art was born when her aunt took her at the age of 12 to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. “I still feel how impressed I was by the works of the Dutch Masters,” she continues, ” – the use of light and shadow, the colours, the clothes, the subjects, the techniques. In my studio, I can fully concentrate on the creation of a new work. With the use of my camera and strobes. For preparing and assembling a new still life I take plenty of time. Until everything is placed the way I want. I love natural materials, simplicity, symmetry, strong lines, sober colours and exquisite detail and apply that as much as possible in my work.”

Although the photographer follows a specific procedure, she leaves room for spontaneity, allowing herself to be surprised by what comes up during her time with Photoshop and the digital dark room. “The ‘work in progress’ dictates to me what to do,” she says.

Some of Tineke Stoffels’ work is sold by Bell Gallery.

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Images used with permission.


Amandes (From “Le Potager”)


Girl With Lace Collar 2 (From “Little White Collars”)


Fruitstilleven met granaatappels en pijp (From “Uyt Eenen Tijt”)


Girl With Lace Collar 1 (“Little White Collars”)


Lavas (From “Wabi Sabi”)


Moderation (From “Momento Mori”)


Rosa 1 (From “Natura Morta”)


Still Life with Apples and Bowl (From “Brocante”)


Still Life with Ranuculus (From “Brocante”)


Stilleven met brood (From “Uyt Eenen Tijt”)


Tapenade (From “Recettes provençales”)


Coquelicot (From “Wabi Sabi”)




Cinque (From “Natura Morta”)