Monday, November 30, 2009
Another story that featured in the "Food Network Magazine" for December that I styled was "The Weekend Cooking" section with Photographer Con Poulos. The story is part of their Holiday Issue. I decided to style in jewel tone colors, ruby red, emerald, amethyst and gold to reflect the colors of the season. It's light on anything decorative on purpose so the food can be the hero, It still I think it is evocative without being overwhelmingly obvious, It's kind of how I like to celebrate the holidays anyway, especially after styling so many stories all year! : )
Con is always a pleasure to work with and we have done so for many years on many Editorial projects, he is another Aussie export living in New York.
Have a look at Con's beautiful work at his website: www.conpoulos.com
I had forgot to mention that I had the opportunity to be part of Natalie Walton's brilliant blog called "Daily Imprint" See her blurb below:
The Hotel Chelsea in New York tags itself as a "rest stop for rare individuals". Well, I hope this is what Daily Imprint becomes for you - a place to stop and get a hit of inspiration. As a journalist (deputy editor of Real Living magazine) and writer living in Sydney, Australia, I get to meet all sorts of amazing creative types - people who are pursuing their passion. They inspire me - I hope they give you wings, too.
Natalie is (as she mentions) The Deputy Editor at Real Living Magazine, a mag that I have been gladly contributing to for many years.
Check out her blog:
Attached are some of the images featured on Natalies blog of some of my work.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Well it’s that time of year already and for me the Christmas balls never got dusted off, they remained in action all year. I first started shooting the holidays in March this year, firstly with Delia’s book, featured on this blog already and then a story with celebrity chef, Ted Allen following closely after. I have to say Ted was a pleasure to work with, We all know him initially from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” He now has his own show on Food Network, called “Chopped” Check out www.tedallen.net. The story is featured in the current December issue of “Food Network Magazine”
We had the task, my team and I of creating an instant cocktail party, the party was to take place in the home of Linda Lea, Ted’s Producer, who kindly allowed us to take over her whole apartment and we did! There was stuff everywhere! What many people don’t realize is that when a shoot takes place in someone’s home, you need a big team of people and props there to make it happen. It’s all the behind the scenes stuff that you never really see when the story comes out, Photographers dangling off ladders to get the right angle, Assistants running around with light meters and reflective card. Food Stylists cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Styling Assistants ironing wardrobe, constructing Christmas trees, tying bows.
There is a crazy energy that prevails and really does not stop until the last shot is taken. Then when everyone leaves, it is the Styling teams job to pack it all up and clean afterwards and this can take hours! Its never a pleasant part of the job and often you are left feeling like everybody else got to walk out the door and left you the mess and aftermath to deal with, but it is part of the job and alas someone has to do it.
I borrowed many items for this shoot from various retailers, I also have a stash of my own decorations that I have collected over the years, all color coded in boxes so that if that particular client wants pink and green for instance, those decorations come for the ride. I also used silver wallpaper as a table runner, which is a favorite idea I often weave into shoots as most people have remnants of this lying in the back of the cupboard, well of course I do! : ) Hope you enjoy the party, It was a lot of fun to produce!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I stumbled across Anna Williams website the other day, annawilliamsphotography.com, maybe I was feeling sentimental but I have not seen her for ages and wanted to see what she had been up to, My other friend Anna (coincidently) had told me she has been doing some amazing work and I have to agree.
Anna Williams and I used to work together on many projects for Real Simple and it was always a pleasure. Maybe it’s the “Southern” thing, but as I hail from one of the most “Southern” places there is, Australia, somehow I always seem to click with that similar energy we seem to share, us southerners! : ) Anna is super talented but so calm and down to earth, It’s a great combo. Of course like me she has been living in NYC for many years and I believe gave birth recently to her second child, a boy! Congrats!
Anna has been shooting commercially for over 10 years for clients such as Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, O Magazine, Food & Wine, Beringer, Wal-Mart, Target, Fisher Price, Kmart and Williams Sonoma. She has also been recognized by PDN's 30 under 30 for her outstanding work in food and lifestyle photography.
Here are some examples of work that Anna and I have worked together on, hopefully again soon!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Metal sculptures from the 60’s/ 70’s have been popular for a while, I have seen a lot around the markets and now in also high-end establishments. A lot of the work I see is by the Californian partnership of Jerry Fels and Curtis Freiler. Started in the late 1950s, through the 1960s to the late 1970s, the work is very distinctive from the 60’s/70’s era in particular taking on motifs inspired by nature, town scenes, starbursts and some almost “atomic” structures. Many people have thought that it was the work of only one individual Curtis Jere but although they kept their identities mysterious, it was in fact the two artists working together. As their work became more popular and the demand higher, they employed craftsmen to produce the wall art under their instruction.
Today at the markets I found a piece that could be Curtis Jere? It could also be the work of another artist from the same era Mark Weinstein that had a similar aesthetic or it could just be evocative of both? It is a metal sunflower, not a huge piece but stands about a yard high. I would of course love to own a larger distinctive piece such as their “birds” or “branches”, but these are incredibly expensive now to buy, this gem cost me only $20. Like many things I find, it is a springboard for researching the item and seeing where I can weave it into a photo shoot.
Jonathan Adler has loved these sculptures for years and now has access to the C Jere Studio having forged an exclusive relationship with them to produce pieces for his stores, You can check it out on http://www.jonathanadler.com, Otherwise keep your eyes alert for possibilities while flea market shopping, I know I will be!
Most stylists and serious collectors are aware of Catherineholm, A Norwegian company that is probably best known in the U.S for the series of enamel pots, bowls and other kitchenware produced first in the 1950’s, many of the most famous designed by Grete Prytz Kittelsen . The most well known being the “lotus design” which is probably the most collected although first rejected by Grete who apparently disliked the pattern. Grete’s designs have bought her numerous awards, she is considered one of Scandinavia’s leading designers, and she is 92 years old today.
Her designs I find are truly inspirational, I love using them within my styling schemes (see picture with floral chair from Real Simple). So for me when I found another bowl today at the flea markets, I was delighted and I have added it to my growing collection. I have to admit I do find Grete’s other rarer designs for Catherineholm less predictable, particularly the irregular striped pattern and squares within a circle design, which are harder to find.
Tip: There are many copies out there and it is hard to know if they are genuine at times as they are not always marked on the bottom, Japanese companies copied and reproduced many of the designs with inferior quality, so that is something to look out for.
Check out http://www.flickr.com/groups/catherineholm and www.flickr.com/photos/danishmodernguy for more inspiring images, some of which this article came from.
Monday, November 2, 2009
An aspect of my work that often allows me to fuse décor with another medium is Fashion. Quite often I am called upon to design sets for Fashion Shoots. I enjoy this aspect of my work because it involves wearing a different cap. While fashion models can talk, walk and move, my usual subjects; food and chairs can’t, so the energy on a Fashion Shoot can be quite different!
The other challenge is allowing the clothes to be the hero, often in commercial Fashion Shoots, this is important. While I would personally love to see a set full of wonderful props, others are looking at Fashion pages to buy clothes. Often on Fashion Shoots I can design highly elaborate sets that can be out of focus or cropped out entirely, but on a fashion shoot the main focus is on the model, Its my job to make sure the background is working and that compositionally it is all coming together. This can be a challenge when the Fashion Photographer is jumping all over the place, but if you can try and design a set to look good at any angle, this helps. Often it does require me to be jumping around after them as well, making sure that pillow behind the model is sitting exactly right on the chair, that the logs she is carrying through the door is piled just right in her hands.
The shoot featured here is in the current November issue of “Better Homes & Gardens”, a regular client who requested that for one shot that I design an entranceway with a front door, which would look like an average American home. We were shooting in a studio with blank white walls and no front door in sight, so I had to create an entranceway using fake walls and floors. We sourced the antique door from a Brooklyn savage yard; the hooks and doorknocker came from Urban Outfitters, urbanoutfitters.com. We had the baskets sprayed white from IKEA, ikea.com and sourced birch logs from the flower district in Manhattan. The bench featured was sourced from a Prop House. For another shot we sourced a beautiful chandelier made entirely from twigs, deannawish.com.
I get to work with Andy and the wonderful team at Empire Set Shop, empiresetshop.com, who help build the sets for me, This set is a relatively simple one, but you can see more complicated examples of their work on their website.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
One of the great things about my job is that sometimes I get to travel, Having moved to the U.S in only 2005, from Sydney, Australia, My fascination for American culture is still strong, I really do want to get to know as much as possible and the only way to do that is to experience all the different states the U.S has to offer, In my job, I am able to travel to places that I would probably ordinarily would not have had the chance to visit, In this blog, I plan to document those travels The amazing thing about the U.S is how each state has its own personality, There are so many things you hear about that are unique to each of the states and while sure there is some crossover, Its plain to me, how different east can be to west, north to south. As I know work largely for American publications, I am thirsty for knowledge, When a magazine wants me to do a story on July 4th, Thanksgiving or even Super bowl, I need to know what those occasions mean to most American’s, Having grown up elsewhere, I never got to experience these customs and holidays back at home.
Last year I got to travel to Memphis to style for a story for Food Network Magazine, Memphis is a place I had never been and of course I could not go past the opportunity to visit Mr. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, What more could I ask for in my quest for experiencing the American dream, Graceland is a hyper real reflection of all my fantasies about a former era wrapped up in a big polyester bow, For me being interested largely in the decorating side of Graceland, I was both delighted and horrified at the same time, In the mish mash of styles, there was something that resonated with my inner stylist’s being, This place was one giant prop for me to observe and watch glisten in front of me, every corner there was something new, I particularly liked the living room when you entered the main entrance on the right, bathed in afternoon light, It was a symphony of whites and hits of aqua, the peacock glass paned doors that lead to the black grand piano, It had a calm, almost angelic white light feel, As you progress through the tour of the house, You get to see the kitchen with its carpeted floor where Elvis liked to snack, The Jungle Room where he recorded one of his last albums, which is littered with animal skulls and orange ceramic lamps, The TV room with lightning bolt motifs and mirrored ceilings in a crazy combination of yellow and navy, with a row of numerous TV monitors so Elvis could watch many programs at once, and with the cutest white porcelain monkey that would look at home in most current Interior mags.
The interesting things I found is the house is stamped all over in motifs and themes that you still see in many current high end interior schemes, It has an almost luxe regency feel that was way over the top but also had a sense of humor, Only on closer inspection and looking at details can you see that even though regarded largely as “tacky”, there is inspiration that can be drawn everywhere, For an Interior stylist wanting to know more about American culture, a lot is explained, And although it is like experiencing sensory overload, you leave Graceland dazed and glazed, but happy you got to see a slice of decorating history from another era, Memphis style.