Well, this week is quite bizarre for me because from what it seems I might be giving birth to my first child a bit sooner than expected probably by the beginning of this next week. I’ve come to experience the heaviness of this final period with more drowsiness, change of moods and unjustified sensitivity. This few days I also feel for the first time the overwhelming anxiety and the huge responsibility of a new life. So any possible scheduling of posts fell thin, instead I feel like talking about something I hear or read quite often not only online but IRL conversations.
I’ll start by saying that I work as a photographer and as a commercial one, it means I take pictures for magazines or advertising agencies or companies like IKEA. For them actually, I was commissioned to produce the images that would compile a book portraying the contemporary home of Greek people and how had the company(IKEA) helped in shaping a style or way of living.
The homes I photographed where those of ordinary people, representing a more relaxed and plain living than those of designer made homes we normally see on glossy magazines. Still, the day I had each and every shooting I remember that all owners made sure they had properly cleaned their houses and put everything away. They even went to the extend of mini dramas on the rare occasions I had to reschedule their shooting day, afraid that a molecule of dust might show after all. For all of them it wasn’t anymore about the house they lived but it was about the house they had expectations for, it was about the perfect home they aspired to have. The homes were all dressed up and neat, free from toys scattered around or all other paraphernalia associated with everyday living. These homes resembled of snapshots we see of families gathered together, best smile put on for the camera, looking all happy and uniform with no sign of flaws or misfits. They were all trying to live up to those images they see in magazines or glossy editions and I don’t judge them about it.
If anyone does the work I do or has ever been involved in a photo-shoot knows that there are a few rules that we need to follow in order to say that the image captured every time fulfills the role assigned for each project. For instance, if we want to showcase houses in a magazine or a book about their decoration qualities we need to make sure all elements that don’t add to the style of each home are meticulously removed. Especially when we speak about high-end publications the use of a stylist is deemed necessary in order to create the best presentation for the camera, one that promotes and demonstrates the features of the space.
For those homes I photographed I did the minimum necessary styling, but even me went on staging some scenes of imaginary breakfasts or dinners, or, for example, creating playtimes in kids’ rooms. All those constructed daily scenes where not overly made but this helped avoiding unwanted clutter in my images and breath a sense of life in them in an orderly manner that enriched my work without opposing it.
These were not perfect homes of perfect people but definitely when someone would see them through the book would perceive them as such. Still when this notion would settle in our brain then we would go on and do what the book lead us to do! We would be able to take the time and look for all the elements that made these homes appealing, distinguish interesting details in them and realize why and how a design idea works, in other words we would go on and read all the information given from the pictures. As any book of written narrative is the result of its author, a work that derives from the editing, the subtraction or construction of ideas and intellect there’s an analog when we talk about visual books and the editing of the visuals is one mandatory action.
(All images above are part of the work I did for a client. They rent residences around Greece)