Read an exclusive interview with Paulette Tavormina
Paulette Tavormina lives and works in New York City. Amidst the bustle that defines the city, she can often be found at one of its many farmers markets searching for the perfectly imperfect flora that characterize her photographs. Her arrangements often recall the sumptuous detail of seventeenth century Old Master still life painters and serve as intensely personal interpretations of timeless, universal stories. With a painterly perspective reminiscent of Francisco de Zurbaran, Adriaen Coorte and Giovanna Garzoni, Tavormina creates worldly still lifes.
Paulette Tavormina was born in 1949 in Rockville Centre, New York. She is largely a self-taught photographer well known for her work creating painterly still life photographs. Tavormina’s initial interest in the medium stemmed her time in the 1980s working on corporate advertising campaigns researching, creating, and styling props for photographs. Becoming intrigued by the medium, she enrolled in courses at the International Center for Photography in New York in 1986. Then moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, she took classes in photography to perfect her photographic and printing techniques. Combining her passion for the culinary arts with the photographic medium, Tavormina would become a commercial photographer and food stylist shooting countless cooking books while also becoming a prop specialist creating elaborate food scenes for such movies as “The Astronaut’s Wife,” “Nixon,” and “The Perfect Storm.”
Involved earlier in her life in the 1980s with Sotheby’s, Tavormina returned to the auction house as a photographer for the company after a period exploring her ancestral roots in Sicily. By 2008, Tavormina had perfected her lighting and composition for Natura Mora and it was first exhibited at Sotheby’s. Since then, Tavormina’s quick rise has resulted in her photographs in museum, corporate, and private collections and have been exhibited in Paris, London, Moscow, Lugano, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, and Chicago. In November 2010, Tavormina was awarded the Grand Prix of the Festival International de la Photographie Culinaire, a juried photography competition held annually in Paris, France.