Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's for desert?





I have now another batch of desert images, just baked (well some baked!) Food and Wine commissioned me again to style there last page called "Last Bite" We usually shoot 4 in one go, but this time, one was dropped for content reasons. Con Poulos, www.conpoulos.com, shot the first 3 with Food Stylist Anne Disrude and myself, We decided with this series to largely use wallpapered backgrounds, they are out of focus on purpose but add a feeling and texture to the background, It is a challenge to make popcorn look luxe but we did by recreating a night club/ bar feel. The Pannacotta with pineapple was fun because we could go a little "cheesy", almost like a 70's resort in Hawaii, At least that's my reference!

The last image was swapped out, because the latest issue of Food and Wine was the travel issue, This was shot by Photographer Stephanie Foley, www.stephaniefoleyphoto.com, Food Styled by Heidi Johannsen, This image was the most delicious "Sticky Oat and Pine Nut Bars" that actually had pepper in them to give them some kick when eating them, Needless to say I tried a few on the day! We used vintage maps and colored twine to evoke the feeling one might wrap and take them on your travels.

These images are from the last 4 issues, Hope you enjoy this batch, stay tuned for the next "Last Bite" installment in the coming months.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A new toy again!






Here are some more shots, Thanks to Ann the Food Stylist for the variety of great produce to shoot

A new toy!






On today's shoot with Photographer Kate Mathis for Good Housekeeping, I was shown by the photography crew a great application on our I-Phones that makes any image shot on your phone into a Polaroid effected masterpiece, Of course the instant thrill of an image coming to the fore in front of yours eyes is like magic to someone like me, within half an hour I had a gallery of shots.

Of course on any given day I am usually lucky on a shoot to have a mirage of glittering objects in front of me so I am not short of subject matter. It is a nice way to record the event though, The fun continued into the night with dark and moody self portraits and still life around the apartment, Oh how easily one can be amused!

I will try not to bore you with endless examples, but here is a couple of posts worth, after that I will use it sparingly, I promise!, maybe! : )

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh those swedes!/ Lisa Larson






With my next installment of "Oh those Swedes!", I continue to explore my love of Swedish design with a longtime favorite of mine Lisa Larson who from her home in Sweden she still creates in her later 70's, inspiring ceramics that revolve largely around figures and animals. The Japanese are crazy for her, her whimsical touch and the characterization she develops in her figurines must touch a chord, There is a recent Japanese book published by Pie books www.piebooks.com on Lisa, It is worth getting if you love ceramics as much as I do! In the book you can even see pictures of her studio and even some candid portraits.

Originally she was encouraged by fellow Swede and ceramic artist Stig Lindberg (another favorite of mine and worthy of a future post in his own right, keep posted!) to develop her craft and for over half a century she has been developing for well known companies such as Gustavsberg, Rosenthal and Goebel. Her work has become incredibly collectible and fetches high prices these days, I am lucky to be the owner of one of her pieces I found in a thrift store many years ago, it still has it's original sticker. I would love to own more though, My single piece is very endearing but as a collection, it would be even more impactual.

I have found it really difficult to get much personal information about Lisa, Her work certainly speaks for itself but perhaps she is a very private person or perhaps not enough is known about her yet? I hope to see more information emerge about her and to see even more great work be produced, It really is one of a kind and although she has had many imitators, the strength of her work shines through.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's in the Stars!






In the latest April issue of Food and Wine Magazine, I was asked to style a dinner party for wine pro Tom Harrow, Astrologer Shelley von Struncknel and chef Jimmy Bradley. The theme was to be an Astrology Wine Party with the star sign Aries taking center stage. Of course I was very happy to be shooting with Photographer John Kernick, www.johnkernick.com, I have shot with John many times and it is always a great experience. We did have some challenges though, the apartment was quite dark in the room we wanted to shoot and when we arrived the owner of the apartment promptly told us he did not want us to use the dining table! Yikes!..Of course the whole party centered around the dining table so you can imagine my horror. The scheme I had devised did not include an ugly ill fitting table cloth, I had in fact had a denim runner infused with silver thread custom made especially for the shoot, We worked out that his concerns revolved around scratching the very expensive table and after some persuasion we were able to put soft padding under all the plates and trivets so nothing physically touched the table, but for the first half an hour I was sweating, I had no idea how to create a dinner party with no table!

We spent a whole day on the location with my usual truckload of props, the apartment was very sparse on purpose so to create an inviting environment required me to bring lots of options to work with. To enhance the Aries theme I turned to Jonathan Adler of whom I knew had some great Ram's heads in his ceramic range. Of course when the issue hit the new stands it was me that saw stars when realized how small the story ran, maybe I will be asking John for some larger prints! : ) It's always the gamble you take, Not all stories can be big and beautiful, It's how a magazine is able to pace the flow with smaller and larger articles and I fully understand this having worked on staff for many years.

I did shoot some close up shots behind the scenes, hope you enjoy some of the details.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In the Garden with Flora Grubb






As part of my work with "Better Homes & Gardens", my continued contribution to their Style Fashion section enables me to meet some very interesting women. With a change of direction, recently came a move away from using traditional models for real women. The idea for me is to try and encapsulate a mood of what they do as a profession and create a set that allows the reader to have an instant read without overwhelming the purpose of the shoot which is to showcase clothes that would suit them but also inspire the reader to relate to a more grounded and professional woman, of which are featured each month.

One of these women who I find extremely inspirational is the aptly named Flora Grubb, A gardener since age 5 who hails from the West Coast in San Francisco. She is the owner of "The Flora Grubb Nursery" in the Bay view area. She works with what some may describe as offbeat plants, low maintenance, drought tolerant varieties such as succulents and air plants. Her approach I find is very sculptural, check out her work at www.floragrubb.comm, beautiful vertical gardens that are like living art and the amazing "Wooly Pocket system" that is made out of recycled water bottles, A hanging garden, See images on this post.

My job was to reinterpret an essence of her, so I took inspiration from images on her website, working with Art Director Amy Deering, we came up with a scheme that felt like Flora, opting for a softish green rather than red galvinized wall featured in her work to minamize too much of a clash. Working with Flora on varieties that would be available on the East Coast as opposed to the West Coast, my amazing assistant Kimberly Steward helped me organize this. Working with Andy from "The Empire Set Shop", www.empiresetshop.com, We designed the set in advance and Andy and the boys worked on creating the finishes on the walls, even recreating a section with a stoned wall in their workshop and then reassembling it in the Photo Studio ready for the shoot.

You can see here some of the process of the set up day, The shoot was shot by Fashion Photographer Francois Dischinger, www.francoisdischinger.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bloom baby Bloom 2






Here are the remaining images of the Flower test shot with Hallie Burton.

Bloom baby bloom!






My good friend and Photographer Hallie Burton and I decided to do a test in the midst of a cold rainy winter in NYC, When you live in such a cold climate for so many months, you long for that time when the snow melts and birds begin to tweet, Spring in NYC is just so beautiful, so refreshing and our eyes can't help but be drawn to the wondrous beauty of flowers, popping up with bursts of colour, they are the explanation mark on the season. Paired with a white on white setting, flowers really do sing and used in unexpected ways they never cease to inspire. With a fresh take and often using them in single flower arrangements, you can be quirky and tongue in cheek with the way you approach your very own still life. Used as a garnish, used in multiple vessels or even potted, having fun is the key! Stifled, old-fashioned arrangements simply don't do the flowers justice, taking them beyond posies and cliqued groupings is the right approach for a modern take. It’s time to show those shackles of opinion or disfavor away, old notions that Gerbera’s and Sunflowers are so 90’s should be disregarded, (It was 20 years ago after all!) See each species in a new light, with the right approach any flower is beautiful and distinct.

Part of being a Stylist is knowing your flowers, Featured flowersin this test are:

Hydrangeas, Hydrangea (pronounced /haɪˈdreɪndʒ(i)ə/,[1] common names Hydrangea and Hortensia) is a genus of about 70–75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Korea, Japan, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and North and South America. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Korea, and Japan. Most are shrubs 1–3 m tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 m by climbing up trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous.

Hyacinths, Hyacinthus is a genus of bulbous flowering plants, formerly placed in the lily family Liliaceae but now regarded as the type genus of the separate family Hyacinthaceae.[1] They are commonly called Hyacinths, and are native to the eastern Mediterranean region east to Iran and Turkmenistan, Hyacinths are sometimes associated with rebirth. The Hyacinth flower is used in the Haftseen table setting for the Persian New Year celebration Norouz held during the Spring Equinox.

Gerbera (pronounced /ˈɡɜrbərə/)[1] L. is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It was named in honor of the German naturalist Traugott Gerber, a friend of Carolus Linnaeus.
It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia. Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colors.

Orchids, Orchidaceae, the Orchid family, is the largest family of the flowering plants (Angiospermae).[1][2] Its name is derived from the genus Orchis. The number of orchid species equals about four times the number of mammal species, or more than twice the number of bird species. It also encompasses about 6–11% of all seed plants.[4] About 800 new orchid species are described each year.

Rose, A rose is a perennial flower shrub or vine of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae, that contains over 100 species and comes in a variety of colours. The species form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Most are native to Asia, with smaller numbers of species native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa. Natives, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and fragrance.

Spider Mum, Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths, are a genus (Chrysanthemum) of about 30 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to Asia and northeastern Europe. Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC, Spider: The disk florets are completely concealed, and the ray florets are tube like with hooked or barbed ends, hanging loosely around the stem.

Amaryllis (pronounced /ˌæməˈrɪləs/)[1] is a monotypic genus of plant also known as the Belladonna Lily or naked ladies. The single species, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest region near the Cape. It is in the family Hippeastreum, a flowering bulb commonly sold in the winter months for its ability to bloom indoors.

Others featured: Cabbage Flowers, Succulents.

For more of Hallie's amazing work see www.hallieburton.com, This test will appear over 2 posts, We just did so many shots! : )