7 or 8 super houses, part 1

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…

Essex modernist home

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.

new build home in cob/earth, thatched roof

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.

© Anthony Harrison 2010 et seq All Rights Reserved

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.

© Anthony Harrison 2015 et seq All Rights Reserved

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.

© Anthony Harrison 2015 et seq All Rights Reserved

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.

Costa del Sol 04

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:

France Gabot 01

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…


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