17 September, 2012

Venetian Console

After Mr. Charles Spada's first Veranda Ad that I photographed went to print, the anticipation of the next one loomed heavily over me. Charles had spoken on several occasions to me about a pair of custom Venetian Commodes he was fabricating and how much had been put into them and how they needed to be photographed just right for his next ad. We spoke at length about the feeling of the ad and I had found an image by Cartier that I thought portrayed the feeling Charles Spada was after...

But here is the thing, I didn't locate that Cartier image for him, I was doing that for me. You see, I was being asked to do something I'd never done before, and knowing exactly the feeling Mr. Spada wanted was critical to me getting my head around what I needed to do.

Once the concept was agreed upon, I asked for a sample of the fabric and used that as a guide in selecting the seamless background paper color. After bringing all of my equipment (this shot required five studio lights) up to the the second floor, I saw the Venetian Commodes for the first time. If I wasn't intimidated enough by what the expectation of the shot was, well then the sheer beauty and uncompromising quality of the commodes surely could have stopped me in my tracks. 
We set up the shot in the former Beacon Hill Showroom space at the Boston Design Center and after some initial set up, Charles stopped in to see when I might be ready, and I said give me at least 45 minutes:)

I'd never been more intimidated about what I needed to produce that day, and I often wonder when Richard Avedon got his first portrait commission, did anyone say, so Richard have you ever done this before???

While holding my breath and crossing my fingers, Mr. Spada gave me his verdict...

After some minor lighting adjustments, we finished the ad shot and then added some detail shots. I broke down the set and headed to the studio to start the post production. After a few hours I sent off a proof, then got a reply that Charles had shared the proof with Carolyn Englefield for her feedback...

!!!!!!!!!!!!!.......Carolyn Englefield.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 10:08pm that evening, I received this:

"Go for it! :-) I think it looks great Michael, the brocade pops just right and the fabric on both commodes have the same color / value, back ground, details, all of it works. Thanks Michael"

Then the next morning I received a preview of the ad that was sent to Veranda...

This was by far the most challenging shot, I'd ever done and I am so, so proud of it! And I must thank Charles Spada for his continued confidence and support! Look for it in the November/December "mass market" issue of Veranda Magazine.

Warm Regards,


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