I created a website for my photographs which are organized into three categories: people, nature, and lifeless (see here).

It seems to me lifeless could seem derogatory. Is it?

If it is, what would be a better word to use to categorize photographs which are about neither people nor nature?

  • I'd just go with "other", in this case. – keshlam Sep 28 '14 at 0:51
  • @keshlam so you think lifeless does not suit, right? – anderstood Sep 28 '14 at 0:52
  • Given the other uses of the word, I'd avoid it in this context. Of course the divisions you're making are somewhat arbitrary; what do you do with a picture of a man looking at a computer with a dog next to him? – keshlam Sep 28 '14 at 0:55
  • @keshlam : sure, my criterion is what matters most in the picture which is of course arbitrary. I'll wait for any possible suggestions to come but will go for other otherwise! TY. – anderstood Sep 28 '14 at 1:01

Lifeless means something without life, a corpse could be described as being lifeless, we also say a lifeless body; dolls are said to have lifeless eyes although the eyes appear realistic they are expressionless and blank. If you describe a group of photos as being lifeless the viewer might interpret this two ways. First, as a metaphor, the subjects are indeed without life, they are non-living things whose existence have been recorded in light (photo). Secondly, and possibly the one you most want to avoid, the photos are dull, expressionless and dead-looking.

Still life is probably the term you are looking for. Wikipedia describes it as

Still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).

Still life Photography

Still life photography is the depiction of inanimate subject matter, most typically a small grouping of objects. Still life photography, more so than other types of photography, such as landscape or portraiture, gives the photographer more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition.

Still life photography is a demanding art, one in which the photographers are expected to be able to form their work with a refined sense of lighting, coupled with compositional skills. The still life photographer makes pictures rather than takes them. Knowing where to look for propping and surfaces also is a required skill.

As alternative titles to still life consider man-made "life"; post-industrial; or the gloomier dystopia.

  • I'm now hesitating between other and man-made life since I think not all my pictures can correspond to only one of the following suggestions (I won't detail as it would be out of topic): "still life", "dystopia", "abstract", "dynamic", "technology", "cityscape". Also, I had thought about "inanimate", but prefer the two mentioned above. – anderstood Sep 28 '14 at 19:59

I looked your photos. Your third category could be termed "abstract", "dynamic", or "technology".


I recommend distinguishing landscape (nature with focus on the view) v.s. cityscape (which is an "urban" equivalent).

As a general descriptor of your works, you could use "modern" and "contemporary" in addition to @Theresa's diction.

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