Lana Cochrane St Benedict's College (Mango Hill)
Numbered Days Photograph
Series of 4 digital photographs of found objects (native branches, flowers, crockery), sculpted plaster skull, plaster candles and flame.


How we understand death relies on our intrinsic values and beliefs. Christian values have a strong focus on morality in which good always prevails. Numbered Days is a series that explores human morality using Australian cultural and Christian values. I decided to use long exposure photography and objects associated to traditional vanitas to portray this critical moment (of death) in a beautiful and sophisticated way. While the skull sets an eerie mood, the subtle glow from the flame symbolizes both decay and hope, as a reminder that there is a certain beauty in death.


I began by sculpting traditional objects used in 16th century still life vanitas paintings, such as a skull, cross and candle. I then arranged these into compositions and experimented with long exposure photography using a dark box and a DSLR camera. Inspired by Robyn Stacey and Marian Drew, I wanted to achieve a dramatic and moody atmosphere . I took hundreds of photographs to refine my technique and composition, introducing and taking away items (including crockery and native flowers) as I went. I then selected the most effective images, printed on gloss paper and displayed with the original sculptures.


Lana Cochrane

My art style and techniques vary, although I am usually interested in painting and sculpture. For this particular piece however, I decided to experiment with photography which was a new media to me. During my senior studies, I have been interested in how artists communicate ideas about morality. I have been influenced by the drama of traditional still life artists, as well as Mexican and Christian beliefs on morality as both have contrasting values and attitudes towards death. I incorporated these ideals through the imagery such as the skull, candles, and native flowers.