Hello Folks! I have a couple of exciting announcements for you today. First, you probably would like to know who won the great Williams-Sonoma holiday books, right? Well…it was comment number…
and that lucky number belonged to this comment…
Congratulations Karen! If you will send me an email with your mailing address, I will get the books out to you quickly so that you can see all the beautiful inspiration they have inside. And thank you to everyone who left comments on the posts. I was surprised how many of you like the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. It was a toss up whether the stuffing (dressing as we call it) or the leftovers were more dearly loved. I got hungry just reading your comments! I had 2 other books that I wanted to do posts on during the week of the contest so that you would have more chances to enter, but I never got around to doing them thanks to this…
(Sorry for the blurry photo, but I wanted a shot of the camera, and I took this one in a hurry.) Obviously, that is not my photography equipment. All of it belongs to the amazing photographers, Anne Gridley and Gary Graves. (Anne is as camera shy as I am, so I am using this photo of them from Country Living magazine.)
My photos above show their lights used for a magazine photo shoot held here the past couple of days. I feel like we have been running a marathon for two weeks straight getting ready for this. And I still wasn’t totally ready when they arrived on Monday morning. In fact, I had to do the chalkboard in the playroom and the one on the porch while they started photographing the living room. Thank goodness my husband was home to help with this, too! So who are Anne Gridley and Gary Graves, you ask.
Well, they currently live in Pennsylvania but travel all over the country with their dog Le-Le taking photographs. They do independent work, and they do magazine work for Harris Publishing Company. Anne worked eight years in NYC as an assistant for Keith Scott Morton, one of Country Living Magazine’s top contributing photographer/stylists. Gary worked in art for years before he and Anne decided to start their own independent photography business. Together they worked with James Cramer and the late Dean Johnson on a book about window boxes. (Cramer and Johnson have been featured numerous times in Country Home, Country Living, and Cottage Living.)
Window Boxes: Indoors & Out
Anne and Gary’s home also has been featured in Country Living magazine.
Anne has shared her cake stand collection on Martha Stewart Living television.
Their work has been published many many times in House Beautiful with their photography for the featured Kitchen of the Month.
And they have done a series of before and after shots using their photo styling skills.
Isn’t their work great? And after knowing about all the beautiful homes they have photographed and all the talented interior designers and architects with whom they have worked, I was shocked that they would even want to see our little house here. To say I was intimidated about their coming was an understatement. But nerd girl here also knew it was a wonderful opportunity to watch and learn from two VERY knowledgeable people.When Layla and Kevin Palmer (from The Lettered Cottage) shot our home for Cottages and Bungalows magazine, they changed very little in the vignettes around here.
If I remember correctly, they moved one throw pillow, changed out one towel, moved one chair over about 3 ft., and moved a tray in the kitchen. Otherwise, they left everything as I had it arranged. But I knew that was unusual for a magazine photo shoot, so I was not expecting it to be like that this time. I knew there would be changes.
And changes there were. Gary would look at a room, decide how he wanted to style it, and then he and Anne would begin moving things around…chairs, lamps, photos, books. It was then like a scavenger hunt with “Do you have a black tray? Do you have a red napkin? Do you have a different color throw pillow? Do you have a pitcher I can use here? Can you get me glasses with ice and straws that we can use in this spot?” They wanted to show a house that looked naturally lived in. It was a ton of work looking for and finding things for them, but it was an awful lot of fun too. Then they would shoot the room and look at it on the computer monitor…then tweak things in the room or with the lighting…over and over and over again until they had it like they wanted it. (Must get a cable that tethers my camera to my computer!) Their attention to detail was unbelievable.
One of the most difficult things about this was that I could not have anything that was seasonally related in the rooms. The magazine editors wanted to be able to use the photos in whatever issue they decided to. No pumpkins or mums or anything remotely resembling fall. It was quite a challenge to do that because you all know how much I like to do seasonal vignettes, like this…
(That was last year’s table. With the photo shoot, I have not done anything for Thanksgiving yet…but it IS coming. :))
Another challenge for me was that I wanted to keep it a secret from all of you. Secret keeping is definitely NOT something I do well. I was afraid that if I put it out here on the blog, I would jinx it. So now that the shoot is finished, I couldn’t wait to share it with you (but I had to get some rest last night after several consecutive nights of only 4 to 5 hours of sleep. Sorry.)
The thing that was most interesting to me from this was that someone with fresh eyes (and a braver use of color!) can take the things in a house, use them in the rooms of the home, and make it look entirely different. So a big thank you to Anne and Gary for showing that to this timid-use-of-color girl here.
Oh, and what magazine was this for? No it is not Country Living (although I would LOVE to do a seasonal photo shoot of the house with them!) As I mentioned, Anne and Gary work for Harris Publishing. Harris does not do subscription magazines. They put out single issue book-a-zines that you find in grocery and drug stores…Cottage Style, American Dream Cottage, etc. So in about a year, it will be in one of their cottage issues. As soon as I know more, I will definitely let you know. I do know that Gary told my husband that one of their typical shoots will end up with 12 to 15 photos they send to the publisher from which they can choose. After a day and a half here, he said that he had 19 to send to them from our house. That’s pretty darn good, I think!
I’ve got a project to do with my mother this weekend, and then hopefully things will get back to normal after that…whatever “normal” is these days! LOL Again, congratulations to Karen on winning the books, and thank you to all of you for letting me share my bit of news. I’ll be back with seasonal things soon.
(last year’s table)
until next time…