An Evocative Photo-Series About an Imagined Antiques Sale

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Estate SalePhotography by Tine Bek, set design by Holly Hmiddouche

What started as an homage to the “beautiful loneliness” of Sofia Coppola’s oeuvre soon became an enchanting look at people and their possessions

Still life series Estate Sale, the first collaboration between photographer Tine Bek and set designer Holly Hmiddouche, takes the form of an elaborate game of make-believe, with the pair bringing together a collection of found objects and reimagining them in a new setting: an auction catalogue. “For me, it’s a way of creating a semi-fictional stories out of these very ‘ordinary’ antiques,” Bek explains. The porcelain figurines, Murano ashtrays and crystal jewellery cases selected for the series are a familiar sight to anyone who has ever visited a charity shop or car boot sale. “There is an element of sorrow to the objects that are being donated to these places,” Hmiddouche adds. “I see them as something beautiful, yet they have lost their value to their owner somehow along the way.”

The duo found inspiration for the project in the films of Sofia Coppola, to whom they see Estate Sale as a small homage. “We wanted to somehow portray the feeling that some of her films leave you with – that beautiful loneliness,” Bek explains. The work also reflects upon the way in which material possessions paint a candid picture of who we are, and Bek and Hmiddouche’s eerie still lifes allow one’s imagination to wander, picturing the individuals who might have once owned such disparate bric-a-brac.