Thursday, April 26, 2012

Macy's/ Mother's Day Catalog

Hot off the tails of the Macy's images for Bridal, Macy's again booked me to work on the another project that they wanted to continue in the same vein, It was the Mother's Day catalog for 2012. Using similar colors we had devised for Bridal, We created sets and tabletop environments to shoot all the product slated for this book. The products ranged from coffee making machines, kitchen appliances, suitcases, vacuum cleaners and again ironing appliances. 

We shot this book over a period of week and a half, The book was photographed by a number of Macy's photographers in their studios in Brooklyn, NYC. I certainly was kept busy running from studio to studio working with about 5/6 Photographers at a time. My wonderful Assistant Molly Hartman kept me and her going with a continual stream of lattes and chocolate. Thanks Molly! : )

The catalog has just come out and can be seen online as well as the printed version. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Macy's/ Bridal Inspirations

Last year through Thanksgiving I worked in the Macy's Brooklyn studios on a series of images planned for a Spring release, to tie in with the Bridal side of their website. 

The images were driven by a desire to have bright and cheery imagery that had a quirky edge. Most brides in this day and age are in their 30's so to present a youthful energy to the images was important especially considering the product is quite serious. Lot 's of pot's and pans, glassware, frames and electrical goods such as vacuum cleaners and ironing products. 

As the project evolved, the vision expanded to include fun and playful paper elements so we had fun incorporating some of these. On a project this large, It took a few Stylists and the team of Macy's Photographer's to produce these images, There are over 60 images, These are some of the ones I worked on personally. I hope you like. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Real Simple/ Weeknight Meals/ May

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Back to my roots once again for another "Week of Dinners' now actually called "Weeknight Meals" This time shooting once again with the amazing Con Poulos and also working with a Food Stylist dear to my heart, Alison Attenborough Food Visionaire, check out her website and blog, It's a great read. 

With Real Simple "Weeknight Meals" its is a very paired back experience, It takes great restraint on my part as a Prop Stylist to really only present the bare minimum, It's a different approach then to other magazines, At least in this section. The props are not really telling a story, other than a different meal for the 5 nights of the week. So in order to produce a shoot that feels elevated, the props need to be dead on. I like to use plates that have a little character, rather than ordinary, and keeping an eye on the minimal use of color is also important, If anything it's the food that is allowed to sing. 

I really enjoy working on these shoots as usually I am thinking about a whole room or huge table scape which can be very layered, this type of shoot allows me to really focus on editing only the best, there are not too many "styling tricks" obvious here, It's the bare roots of styling at it's cleanest.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A case of the beautiful blues/ Michele Michael

Left: Photography: Philip Ficks, Right Portrait of Michele

Photography: Jennifer Causey

Photography: Jennifer Causey

Collection for Milk Farm Road Heather Chontos' online store

The vases Michele created for West Elm available online now

More Elephant Ceramics silhouettes available at West Elm 

Photography: Philip Ficks, Left: Bowl in Layers of Blue, Right: Cheeseboard, Platters and Bowls in White

Photography: Philip Ficks, Left: Cheeseboards in Dark Turquoise on Brown Stoneware,
Right: Platters and Serving Bowls in Oatmeal

Photography: Philip Ficks, Left: Vases in white, Right: Platter in Ocean Blue

From LishuTulip Photography: Jennifer Causey

Photography: Philip Ficks

It's very exciting when you see someone change careers, or perhaps in this case side step and realize a different journey of creativity to follow a passion or a dream, it's exactly what Michele Michael did. When I moved to NYC some years ago, Michele at the top of her game worked with me in particular on many stories and covers as a Freelance Prop Stylist for Real Simple, bringing her distinctive stamp to every project we worked on. It was where we were first introduced. However even though high in demand across the board for many clients, Michele decided to change sails. 

When Michele retired from Prop, Interior and Tabletop Styling to open Elephant Props, it was obvious her focus had changed direction, Her prop house seemed like an instant pop up of carefully curated wonderfulness, A place you could go that was edited, clean and thought out, further more when she began to display and rent a fabulous line of her own ceramics through the prop house, It was obvious she was very busy with life after Styling. 

Spending time between Maine and Red Hook, Brooklyn with her partner Patrick, who is also a very talented artist in his own right. Michele used the inspiration of their Maine experience to develop the range of ceramics, with a linen/burlap like texture with beautiful glazes largely in whites, blues and turquoises. The forms have an organic quality and range from vases, platters, bowls, plate’s and serving spoon’s, they photograph beautifully and have been featured in many publications around the globe. I try and use them all the time in my shoots.

Catching the attention of the folks at West Elm, Michele was asked recently to produce in collaboration a range of vases and it's currently in store and online. There are 4 silhouettes finished in her trademark blue. I am sure it will be a relationship that continues in the future, I look forward to seeing the range expand. In the meantime, Michele has her website Elephant Ceramics where if you are quick you can secure a one off design produced by hand in one of her studios.

Philip Ficks is a very talented Photographer that like me in another life had another career as an Art Director, like Michele he has also very bravely taken the leap to another medium and I had the pleasure of working with him the last two weeks for Target, he photographs most of Michele's ceramics, most of these images here are images shot for promotional purposes. Philip, like Michele and I also worked at Real Simple, it so great to see both Michele and Philip embracing new horizons and shaking it up with such vigor and talent. Michele and Philip have been working on a new range of images, stay tuned for those, In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Apartment Feature/ Marie Claire Australia

March Cover
Photography: Lucas Allen
Photography: Lucas Allen
Photography: Lucas Allen

In the March Issue of Marie Claire Australia, A magazine I would regally contribute to in Australia as a Prop Stylist for Food, They decided to feature my latest Apartment in New York, Yes folks this is the first time this one has been seen! The story is about myself and other ex pats who have set up home here in NYC. Also featured are Brett and Amy Shapiro Morris, who own an online rug company, and Lana Hansen whose Eco fashion brand can be found at

Writer and fellow Stylist Natalie Walton whose wonderful blog Daily Imprint has a wide following approached me to run the story and on a trip to New York from Australia, a very pregnant Natalie took the very brave steps in her condition to produce a series of locally based stories.

The story however was not without it's mishaps, We both have to thank Photographer Lucas Allen for stepping in (On the actual day of the shoot mind you!) The Photographer that was assigned to shoot my portion of the story got held up in Florida that morning, I was due to fly out the next day for Australia with a family crisis so in desperation I called on Lucas to see if he by some slim chance would do it, and he did! Thanks Lucas again! He did a wonderful job.

Natalie's work has appeared in publications such as Elle Decoration UK, Living Etc, Australia's Harper's BAZAAR, House & Garden, Marie Claire, Country Style, Real Living and The Sydney Morning Herald, check out her blog, she has also interviewed me on there before as well as many other people in our industry, It's a great read!

I will attempt to feature more pics, Lucas shot so many that could not find room in the article, My place ran at 3 pages, but we shot enough for 12. I had just moved in so it was at it's beginning stages to be honest, Since these photo's I have repainted and decorated, It's always an evolution!

Also thanks to my dearest Mum, Janet who sent me the magazines via snail mail, not always easy to get when living abroad! Of course The April issue is probably already on the stand in Oz, but better late then never! : )

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hyper Color/ Pinch I dreaming?

Left: Marimekko Store, NYC, Right: Stencil Street Art, NYC. Photography: Marcus Hay 

Left: Whirls and Twirls tiled mural by Sol LeWitt at Columbus Circle Subway Station, NYC,
Right: Marc Jacobs Store, The Village, NYC. Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: It's a Small World ride, Disneyland, Right: Colored pins, Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Chalk Street Art, NYC, Right: It's a Small World ride, Disneyland. Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Wall in Chicago, Right: Detail of Drums artwork available at CB2, Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Mural on The Berlin Wall, Berlin, Right: Paper Flowers by Matthew Sporzynski. Photography: Marcus Hay 

Left: Street Art outside Comme Des Garcons, Chelsea, NYC, Right: Lego Installation in Los Angeles.
Photography: Marcus Hay   

Left: Paper Flowers by Andrea Greco, Right: Potted Flowers in Minneapolis. Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Chagall's America Windows at The Chicago Art Institute, Right: Coral on newspaper. Photography: Marcus Hay  

Left: Store Display at Anthroplogie, Right: Junibacken Children's Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.
Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Chicago Airport passageway, Right: Neon Tires. Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Rugs on a shoot, Right: Stripes, Lady Ga Ga, Barneys, NYC. Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Store Display at Jamali Garden, NYC, Right: Storefront in NYC. Photography: Marcus Hay

Left: Mural inspired by Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime, Right: Concrete courtyard in Chicago
Photography: Marcus Hay

If you did what I did as a Stylist and did not love color, well that would be a catastrophe! Let’s face it though, who really does not love color on some level? It’s a huge part of most our lives in more ways then one. Sometimes color subconsciously affects us through its subliminal effects in such mediums as advertising or the media, used in purpose to captivate our attention. Sometimes however it can simply be found in the natural world itself, Where color can be intense it almost shocks us, like the intense color of some flowers, for the instance the shocking almost neon effect of a pink peony rose, especially on masse. I call it a “hyper color experience”, and I am not talking about those T-Shirts from the 1990’s, I am talking about when color has such an effect you can be spellbound.

It often happens when you see combinations of color together, for me if I see colors resonating and pulsating in front of me I have to record them, hence these images where the subject drew me suddenly in, I just am so addicted to seeing the way color can capture me so quickly, It’s that hyper real experience like a trip to Disneyland as a kid or being in a Casino where everything just buzzes. When I prop or have all my items out for a shoot, I love seeing the way color’s relate and play off each other, I also use this method when styling covers for magazines, Some of my best selling covers have been when the colors jump off the newsstands, The physiology of color is indeed a fascinating thing.     

Wikipedia says Hyper reality is used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe a hypothetical inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced post-modern societies. Interacting in a hyper real place gives the subject the impression that one is walking through a fantasy world where everyone is playing along; the whole thing feels like a dream.

When you think of hyper real environments or experiences dizziness is a word you may use to describe it, At least for me hyper color is my drug, Color is the thing in life that makes me feel most alive, It always continues to surprise and delight me, I hope you enjoy these images I created to express how I see the world through my own peony rose colored glasses.