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Our Community: Still Life Stylist Sophie Surridge

We recently caught up with Still Life Stylist and friend of Blackline, Sophie Surridge to find out more about her impressive career. We’re huge fan’s of Sophie’s work, and have collaborated with her on a number of exciting projects over the years.

Sophie’s journey, that began at Chelsea College of Art, has propelled her into the creative industry, culminating in a career as a freelance stylist. Here we find out more about her inspirations, processes, and the life as a Still Life Stylist!

How did you find your way into the world of still life styling? What sparked your interest in the styling industry? 

I did an Art Foundation degree at Chelsea College of Art and my amazing tutor (I wish I could trace him down and thank him) looked at the way I laid my sketchbooks out and said I should look into styling. At that point I had no idea what styling even was!

What’s been the most memorable moment in your career so far? Any behind-the-scenes stories you can share with us?

Getting the balls to quit working as a full time stylist in a studio and going freelance! I’ve never looked back. I once worked with jewellery designer Shaun Leane (such a great guy); he wanted to create a baked earth backdrop to lay his jewellery on. I tested out so many routes and ended up using compressed tile grout. It worked a treat!

Your portfolio is seriously impressive. Can you tell us about some of your favourite projects to work on? What made them stand out for you?

The jobs that seem to stick out to me are those where the client gives me more creative freedom. I styled and concepted a job for Cambridge Gin; I used all of their natural botanicals to create a still life ecosystem on set. Similarly, on an editorial shoot for Vingt Sept magazine I used stick insects on set with all beauty products which was interesting!!

Any job that involves travelling and being in new environments is also fun. I lived in a hotel in Hamburg for a few weeks styling the hotel. And last week I found myself styling the penthouses at London Corinthia Hotel. What a lovely way to start the week that was.

When it comes to creating stunning still life compositions, what’s your approach? Any tips or tricks for aspiring stylists who want to up their game?

Taking inspiration and colour schemes from fashion, architecture, interiors or even films. This really helps me choose backgrounds and props. Keep your eyes open all the time for interesting textures that you could use on a job. I once pulled a piece of MDF out of a skip that builders had been mixing concrete and all sorts on. The layers of paint and different materials looked epic as a background on a set.

How do you maintain your authenticity while navigating the hustle and bustle of the creative world?

It is always important to tailor my style to meet clients needs and work with them to get what they want. However I love to work on personal projects with photographers where I can have full creative control and use this as an outlet for creativity.

Looking ahead, how do you see the future of still life styling unfolding? Any trends or changes on the horizon that you’re excited about?

I feel like the industry is going down a more natural shooting style. Less studio and more natural organic feel to shots in terms of lighting and even props.

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice when you were starting out, what would it be? Any hard-earned lessons you wish you’d known sooner?

Assist, assist, assist! I wish I’d assisted for longer while doing my own thing. There are so many tricks of the trade out there and always something new to learn. I’m always nervous before every job, but I’ve finally learnt that everyone on set always wants the best results. Don’t fret and panic buy the day before a job; just relax and be confident that you’re prepared.

One of the many reasons we love to work with Sophie at Blackline, is how she brings a unique blend of authenticity, innovation, and expertise to every project. Her work is a testament to her keen eye for detail, and we can’t wait to see more from her. Be sure to take a look at Sophie’s portfolio!

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