Last summer I shot & interviewed for a feature on a super Cambridge home, published in Ideal Home magazine in March 2016 Alicja Zimniskas lives there, a fine artist – and interior designer. So recently she commissioned me to shoot a private home she’d designed top to bottom, for her personal advertising and publicity.
I know Oxford well, and Summertown is just about the nicest residential part of the city in my opinion. Accessed via both the Banbury Road and Woodstock Road a short distance from the centre, its leafy sidestreets play host to a great many beautiful houses . My location for the day was a substantial house built in 1911, extensively updated & extended in a sympathetic way by an excellent architect. It proved fully as smart, stylish and tasteful as any home I’ve shot for an editorial feature: more to the point, it’s a tribute to Alicja’s interior design skills. She not only has the knack of combining textures and colours, she knows how to source things. The owners, Alicja’s clients, were clearly very appreciative of her work.
Sometimes it seems like everyone and his dog is setting up as an interior designer: it’s easy enough, after all, you just tell people you were “good at art” at school and your friends say they love your own décor, so… I know how it goes, since it’s similar to all those aspiring pro photographers who say the same kind of thing – believe me, I come across a lot of both…
Aspirations are one thing, but to do it for real you have to walk the walk, as they say. Pro photographers are judged by results and more or less nothing else. I get work increasingly through my website: potential clients see real work I’ve done for magazines, architects, designers and others, and commission me on that basis. In aspiring to become an interior designer, people like Alicja are better qualified than most: she studied textile art from age 15 in Lithuania (her homeland) then in Warsaw she added product design, and did a Master’s Degree in fine art, continuing this in London, together with interior design. It doesn’t hurt that in addition to Lithuanian, she speaks Polish and English. Now she’s adding to her list of real-world clients.