I hadn’t bothered with a traditional portfolio for years, relying instead on directing potential clients to my website – and these days a lot of people find me, without my having to go out and find them…
I loved this modernist (1960s, recently remodelled) house at first sight: cuboid, angular, white, my sort of thing. Because it’s on a slope, the rear (shown here) has a far lower profile – but still striking. I shot a magazine feature, and photographed it for the architect.
But as part of a new venture I decided to make my own book. The Australia-based company Jorgensen produces some of the best custom photobooks/albums around, with lots of options: they’re hand assembled, and several degrees above the sort of online DIY books that have become popular.
Contrast! Cob is a traditional and very ancient mix of earth, a binding agent such as straw, and in former times a fair bit of animal dung. Devon is cob HQ, with vastly more cob buildings than any other part of England. Kevin McCabe builds super new homes using this old technique: I covered this one near Ottery St Mary in Devon for a magazine feature.
So I’m using their service to make myself a new hard-copy portfolio, or “book” as it tends to be called in the photographic world. It’s nothing fancy: I decided to let pictures speak for themselves, and for the most part I just selected and arranged a wide variety of interiors & exteriors showing houses I thought especially striking and/or interesting. I’ll share a modest selection of these in a couple of blogs.
Not the house I was shooting at the time, but the view from it! Down the wonderful A41 autoroute from Geneva, past Annecy & Chambery, up the road towards Albertville – then up a twisty mountain road to a large, solid, gorgeously rebuilt village house owned by a young English couple. This is the view from their balcony.
My personal taste tends toward the radically modernist: I love concrete, glass and steel! But there are so many really beautiful houses built centuries ago that I can appreciate something truly original, or interesting, no matter what its age.
So why am I featuring this 1970s boxy townhouse, of which many thousands must have been built? Not architecturally cutting edge… I shot this house as a feature for Ideal Home because of its super interior – see my next picture…
And one of the most frequent reminders I have to offer people who talk to me about the homes I shoot is that in terms of magazine features for the home-interest titles it’s the décor that counts – not the architecture. In many ways, the greater the contrast between a stylish interior and a drab or at least conventional exterior, the more interesting a feature can be.
And here’s the principal downstairs space of that 1970s home in Cambridge, with half of the couple whose home it is: Alicja Zimniskas, an accomplished artist and interior designer.
I don’t get to cover super foreign homes as often as I might like, but although it can be hard work (no lolling by the pool with a cool drink, but lots of concentrated travel, tight logistics, very busy photography often in difficult conditions) I’ve been privileged to visit some genuinely striking homes.
More white concrete – or is it? The American architect who designed this unusual, beautiful home on the Costa del Sol grew up in Andalusia, and echoed the traditional pueblo with this two-part home reached by a winding staircase that’s like a street – and he used lots of adobe in its construction. I shot it for a UK selfbuild title.
Must restrain myself from including too much! I’ll do at least one more blog like this, perhaps even this week, but here’s another picture:
A house I didn’t feature for a magazine – in fact I didn’t earn a penny for this photograph… No, it belonged to a friend of a friend, and I stayed there 2-3 nights while covering a different house an hour+ drive away near Sarlat in the Dordogne. I have a house in another part of France and I love it – but it’s not as gorgeous as this place in Lot et Garonne! I thought it was wonderful, and still do – wish it was mine.
Look out for 7 or 8 super houses, part 2…