Entries in photography (22)
Born in 1926, Vivan Maier came to the northern shores of Chicago to work as a nanny. In her free time, she would venture into the city armed with a Rolleiflex camera to document everyday people living their everyday lives.
While her work spans decades after WWII, only recently have tens of thousands of negatives been rediscovered—and never have they been exhibited so close to home.
Don’t miss this first American curated exhibit of her compelling work—just 80 pieces—which will surely leave us wanting more.
For Fall 2010, we took a much different approach to how we used color in catalog photography. Our goal was to let the bold colors speak for themselves and create environments where they could pop.
About half of the book was shot on location where you’ll see textural brick walls, amazing single paned windows and subway tiles in a living room!
Another 20% of the photography was shot against Benjamin Moore’s “stone harbor”, BM 2111-50, which set the a dramatic mood for these living rooms.
For these bedroom shots, we used a soothing, lighter grey—“heaven” BM 2118-70.
Lower left: By using “yellow finch”, BM 2024-40, the odyssey dining table and hyde wall cabinets blended with the environment which created the perfect contrast for the blackened thor chairs to pop.
Lower right: Lastly, we used “universal black”, BM 2118-10, since the darkest shades create contrast and enhance colors that are near or against it. This is why the wood grain of the vice high dining table stands out—not to mention the red engine barstools.
jim franco, photographer: It depends on the home. Some homes are more about the actual space architecturally and some are more about things the homeowners have collected. Often there is one area or object that is strong and I begin composing around that one idea or thing.
joe maer, stylist: My job is really to edit—most people have more than what’s needed for a single shot.
Do you move pieces to create interesting photos or do you shoot as you find everything?
jim: Again sometimes you walk into a place and you think “wow, this is so perfect and easy”. Other times there’s some tweaking that should be done to make it more photo-ready.
Houses can be perfectly beautiful to the eye, but can need a little adjusting to have them ready for the camera.
joe: I move furniture around a lot because what works in real life doesn’t always work in a photo. But more often it’s about deleting pieces.
Is there anything you avoid?
jim: Flash-on-camera. Usually with point-and-shoot cameras the flash illuminates just a small area and then the rest of the image goes dark and it can look pretty gloomy.
joe: I’ve seen them in more than one home—get rid of the dead or dying plants!
Any suggestions for lighting?
jim: I’ve learned that overhead lighting, while dramatic, can cast hard shadows.
If possible use natural light from windows. It’s a softer light that “wraps” better around the space and this can be easily achieved with some sheer curtains over the windows.
joe: I think the hardest part is composition and lighting—and unfortunately I don’t have answers for that. I think people should experiment and try different angles and use the window light and find out what they like. With digital cameras it’s easy to try a million shots and then edit.
What suggestions can you give when shooting a collection of items to make an interesting vignette?
jim: For pictures or objects on a wall, I think a random quality often is better than the attempt at symmetry. and varying the sizes of the objects can create interest. For example, using a big painting next to a smaller one or even a found object hanging next to a painting.
When composing things on a side table or floor, of course have the largest items in the back and the smaller in the front so that the small objects lead your eye up to the big pieces. Color groupings always are great. For example, all one color or similarly colored vases, books, objects—just feel fresh when edited to be tonal.
How can you bring a sense of the homeowner’s personality into a picture?
jim: All homeowners have a decorating personality whether they realize it or not. Some people are “book” people, some are plant people, some like art, some minimal. Some are crazy collectors and even just the fact that they collect is part of their personality.
I look to see what things have a specific quality, and then organize those things together so they become stronger.
joe: I also think collections of personal stuff give life to a shot. I would pull stuff from all over an apartment and make groupings. What’s on your desk tells a lot about how you work and live. I would use the things you own—like in the kitchen, use produce and groceries you would eat to prop the counters.
I like using kid’s toys when there are small kids in the house. I don’t think everything has to be put away but there’s a fine line when the photo looks too messy. Even stuff from closets help give a photo personality—hats, scarves, bags, etc. Everything you own tells a story about you so I would select a few favorite pieces to showcase. Not every shot needs to be a full on room shot but details do make for interesting photos.
Any other thoughts or suggestions?
jim: Don’t worry about being perfect. There’s so much beauty in randomness—and more personality too.
Thanks to photographer Jim Franco and stylist Joe Maer who recently worked with author Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan on his new release, Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces.
Mixing modern and vintage is right on trend but it can be a challenge if your architecture is from another century. We hope you can forgive us for the quality of the image, but this creative idea from our Miami store was one of our favorite solutions that we wanted to share.
In Victorian times, picture rails were incorporated into the trim or molding as a way to hang portraits and art. Usually thick ropes ornate with tassels were attached to the artwork and hidden clips allowed for easy placement and positioning on the rail—without doing damage to plaster walls.
While the bungee cords shown are looped around the metal pole, consider latching their hooks on to actual picture rails to hang modern art or framed photos. Cords come in a variety of thicknesses, lengths and colors; check your local hardware store to find the most appropriate for the task and hang on!