When Interior Designer Susan B. Acton first contacted me to photograph her recently completed project in Florida, I was overjoyed. Then when she told me her hope of having Florida Design Magazine publish those images, I was a bit nervous. I'll be honest, the National Magazine market is very different than the Regional Magazine family. To my knowledge the only New England Photographer to ever have his work published in Florida Design Magazine is Architectural Photographer Eric Roth.
If we've worked together before, than you know that I scout every project in advance to help better prepare everyone for the day of the shoot. So for this project, I met several times with Susan B. Acton's Associate Designer; Elizabeth Henle. We reviewed her own photographs of the project, discussing possible angles and what props where needed. We decided to commit 2 1/2 days to shooting this project and through out all of our talks, the one room that kept coming up was the Wine Room. The only room that I was told would be impossible to photograph and the only room I never saw any pictures of (more on this to come). In the end we presented 34 finished shots to Florida Design Magazine and we where all elated when we where told the project would be published as shot. This is the opening page spread (please pick up the current Florida Design Magazine Vol 21 #4 to see the full spread)
When I first arrived at this project, shortly after meeting the homeowners and getting settled, I said "where is the Wine Room, please?" It was 8:30 am and I needed to see what I was up against. The Wine Room I learned had a door at either end and was beautifully surrounded in Makassar Ebony. Knowing a relationship needed to be established (for editorial reasons) between the Kitchen, Wine Room and the Dining Room. The first shot would be standing in the Kitchen looking through the Wine Room, past the Dining Room towards the stairs, which I would use later as an axis point. I used a 50mm lens for the Wine Room shot and while Elizabeth reorganized every single bottle of wine, I watched the shadow of the stair treads come and go with each passing cloud. So with everything in place, I set up one light, with barn doors to recreate what the sun would have been doing, had it cooperated. We spent a little time reorganizing the wine bottles based on color, bracketed my exposures and with a big relief said, "on to the kitchen..."
One space that I was eager to shoot was the Office, so after completing several more shots of the Kitchen we moved into the Office. Having seen the previous job site photos, I was excited to see how the sculptural staircase could be used with in the composition. After studying some initial shots on the screen, I turned to the homeowner (having already heard about his wonderful car collection), and pointing on the screen of my computer I said, "do you think we could place your Ferrari, right there..."
I first met Susan B. Acton more than 15 years ago when Richard FitzGerald asked me to learn more about Design Manager. Through out those years and my two careers, Susan has been a great friend and a true joy to work with. It is also with great excitement that I announce a project that I recently photographed for Susan B. Acton in New England. It will be published sometime this coming year with in the beautiful pages of New England Home Magazine. Stay tuned...