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Entries in styling (3)

Thursday
Sep062012

fashion week spring 2013: new york

photo by: christopher macsurak

Fashion Week in New York promises to provide excitement via color, pattern and style. First held in 1943 to keep attention stateside during wartime, Fashion Week happens twice a year—in February to show ‘Fall’ fashions, and in September to show ‘Spring’ of the coming year.

Lincoln Center has become a hot-spot since it hosts Mercedes-Benz® Fashion Week but events happen all over the city. If you’re out of town, catch the scoop at Fashion Week Daily.

And look for Fashion’s Night Out events across the country.

Monday
Mar212011

meet us: adam pearson

Meet Adam Pearson, a professional food stylist based near our photo shoot in LA and Palm Springs. He’s the creative genius of our Mexican Fiesta and his recipes will be featured throughout the season.

Who taught you to cook?
Growing up in southern California, my dad spent a lot of time with me grilling outside. He also taught me how to make biscuits and sausage gravy when I was about 8. The gravy recipe is so easy its ingrained in my memory—and those moments became more special as our family split up.

Has ‘California cuisine’ influenced you?
I was exposed to a lot of different, exotic cultures and cuisines at a young age—ironically none from my own family. I took bits and pieces from friends’ homes and what they were cooking, and now as an adult they finally make sense when I mix them together in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Spices. I love the flavor of ethnic foods but right now I’m obsessed with Korean. It’s warm, spicy, filling—very much like comfort food. I’m working with an assistant who goes to the Korean market with me, translates the staples, shares how they can be mixed—this opened a door to experimenting with Korean cuisine.

Got any food styling secrets you can share?
Instead of following a recipe, I’ll start by ‘deconstructing’ it—meaning I’ll cook ingredients so each looks its best. As for plating, I like them to look approachable…a little messy…perfectly imperfect.

Also, tools are my thing. I’m the tool kid. I’d be lost without a blow torch…a mandolin…but the most important tools are a sense of confidence and your hands. It’s so true that experience enhances your senses. The first food stylist I apprenticed under—all he needed was his fingers and spit.

Where do you find inspiration?
My partner Matt and I, we travel a lot and always bring something back that’s food related. Our first stop is usually a grocery store for local ingredients—like chick pea flour from Nice, France. Matt was recently in Singapore and brought back a suitcase and a half—our pantry is filled with international foodstuffs.

We like to shop for one-off serving dishes, special baking dishes made for indigenous recipes…in Spain we found local pottery shops with hand-made, lovely cazuelas which are very useful in preparing Spanish recipes.

And wherever we are, we’re dissecting and cataloging what was prepared for us. In Buenos Aires we had compound butters with fresh bread that was to die for! Like English muffins with pistachio butter—so easy to do at home.

What do you do for fun?
Matt publishes mattbites.com, and we often work on it together, so recipes, food styling and photography are a huge part of both our lives. There’s no way around bringing our work home with us—especially since his studio is part of the house.

Often one of us is on a shoot out of town, so when we’re both home we make lots of trips to farmer’s markets. It’s almost a cliche but we get what’s local and seasonal—we’re spoiled being in southern California where we get fresh vegetables all year. We go without a menu in mind, check out what looks good, and make things up as we go along.

Great looking plates, platters, and serving utensils add another layer. Dinner in our house is usually a small production and we love rotating pieces from our prop studio with our everyday slip porcelain from Australia. And we get just about every food magazine out there so—there may be a fine line between passion and addiction, but there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of free time for anything but food.

Tuesday
Jun292010

how to: photograph your space

What do you look for when composing a shot inside someone’s home?
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.