Tuesday, 31 August 2010

photographer roger davies

There are many stories on this site about perserverance and faith. Well, sometimes a good dose of luck plays its part too. Photographer Roger Davies has one of those all-time "only in New York" stories about his break. The rest of his work speaks for itself. Just hop onto his website and see the number of covers he's shot for Elle Decor - and there's a notable inclusion of Australia's Belle magazine, too.

Which five words best describe you? Brilliant, suave, hilarious, erudite, liar.

What was your first job/career and what path have you taken since? My first job was in the 80s, dancing in a full body lion costume with five friends on a Peugeot car lot in Northern England (on the hottest day of the summer). Heat exhaustion and too many bestiality jokes cut my career short to just one day. After that my choices were a bit better. Moving to New York straight out of college was one of them. In my first week in NY, while looking for a job I got talking to a lady in the street who had given me some directions. At the end of the block I asked her if she knew of any work, she asked what I did and I replied that I had just arrived from England, where I had studied film and photography. She said, "Photography - are you any good?" I replied that it wasn't really for me to say was it? To which she replied that she was the fashion editor of Interview Magazine and that I should come with her. Anything is possible in New York and Mariuccia Casadio gave me my start.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Every job's an opportunity to learn something new and to get something great - image wise (even if it's from the plane window). Treat everyone how you would like to be treated. That I must always remember to bring a present home for my son.

What’s your proudest career achievement? I guess I'm a bit of a sucker for covers, I'm like a kid in a candy store any time I get one.

What’s been your best decision? Switching back to photography. I had worked in film for a few years and while I still completely admire the process and the craft, I realised that I have a selfish and immediate need to make images for myself, that don't go through layers of approvals or changes. The impermanence of magazines only exists for the reader, the images that get thrown away in last month's issue might stay in my head forever, though I guess the web has changed all that now.

Who inspires you? Michelangelo Antonioni, Henry Moore, Gary Winogrand, Donald Judd, Takashi Homma, Will Self, Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Stephen Shore, Ian McEwan, William Christenberry, Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Haruki Murakami, Werner Herzog, David Hockney, James Turrell, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Taryn Simon, Lucien Freud, Joan Miro, kitchen sink drama films from the 1960s, Robert Adams, Richard Serra, Elliott Erwitt, Sol Lewitt, Becher & Becher, Thomas Struth, Arnold Newman, Wes Anderson, Robert Frank, Albert and David Maysles, Rineke Dijkstra, Monte Hellman, my wife, my son.

What are you passionate about? Avoiding mediocrity and my little house in Laurel Canyon, CA.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Francis Ford Coppola over dinner at his estate in Napa Valley, I think you'd be guaranteed some great food, fantastic wine and crazy stories.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like my 1986 Jaguar XJS to work like it was new.

What are you reading? On Photography by Susan Sontag - I lied about having read it 20-odd years ago to get onto my Photography BA Hons course. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Los Angeles's Best Dive Bars which someone just gave me for my 40th birthday, which tellingly, I'm much more prone to read about than visit.

images courtesy of roger davies

Monday, 30 August 2010

papier mache's beck marshall

To create a product is one thing. To do it with integrity is something else altogether. I've long admired people who work towards a "greater good". Ie, it's not just about the money, or fame, or whatever else it is that so many chase. I'm talking about people who want to contribute to the "bigger picture". Kate Bezar of Dumbo feather comes to mind, and I believe the crew behind Papier Mache - including editor Beck Marshall - are in that space too. Issue 4 is online now, and watch out for coming issues in print too.

Which five words best describe you? Flighty, emotional, crazily busy-minded.
What was your first job/career and what path have you taken since? Funny to think all that way back... At 12 my first job was on the weekends in a tiny little sandwich shack at a beach called "The Pass" in Byron Bay. I made so many jaffles in the hot, hot summer for a ridiculously small amount of money. May path ever since has been a pretty windy, fun and strange adventure... over a few countries and careers.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Well, I have this theory that I attract serious life lessons (why I can't attract the odd butterfly on my windowsill seems so unfair). I have now learnt the best thing is to find your own ship to sail. Don't look back and be strong and truthful to who you have on board!
What's your proudest career achievement? I've had a few. The launch of Papier Mache obviously is a huge achievement. It was born from scribbles on paper and extracts from a zillion scrapbooks I've collected over the years. I also used to own a little children's store in Sydney and painting the logo on the awning with my kids and watching my mum and husband nail in the last nail before opening the doors was pretty cool.
What's been your best decision? Buying my now husband (who was a complete stranger at that moment) lunch.
Who inspires you? So many people. It is super amazing what we are able to access nowadays by just clicking away so the breadth of inspirational people is growing larger for me each day. I have been loving my usual suspects of unreal people for some time now but it's fun to keep adding. (Oooh, and my mum because she somehow raised three pretty wild kids on her own, and did a damn fine job - I freak out trying to raise my two with a husband and loads of support!).
What are you passionate about? Trying to make an honest and wholesome attempt of raising my girls, and sticking to see something in my life through for once.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I have never given it much thought really, but if I was a long-haul flight or boring bus ride somewhere I'd be pretty happy to sit next to Leonard Cohen.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Own a house with a back door, front door and windows on both sides; see a printed version of Papier Mache. Mmmm... I could go on and on.
What are you reading? On the road by Jack Kerouac. I like to read Kerouac when I'm after some inspiration of a seriously unique kind.

images courtesy of papier mache

Friday, 27 August 2010

quince homeware's michelle koop

There are quite a few good-quality and well-designed handprinted textile brands popping up. While Julie Patterson is perhaps one of the pioneers (read her Daily Imprint interview here), there are others such as Memi Designs (interview here), Prints Charming and Pony Rider. Well, meet one of the latest - Michelle Koop from Quince Homewares.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, driven, creative, humble, genuine.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? I worked as a freelance graphic designer and then studied to be a chef as I wanted to be a food stylist. I worked in very busy restaurants and then studied surface printing and design. I worked in retail for a time whilst building up my range of products by wholesaling throughout the country. A year ago I opened quince.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? To listen to your inner voice and to stay true to yourself.
What's been your proudest career achievement? Opening quince a year ago.
What's been your best decision? Having my child, Priya; he is such an amazing little man.
Who inspires you? Scientists and researchers who find cures for diseases, ways to live sustainably and discover new species, anyone really who is passionate about what they do and do it with integrity.
What are you passionate about? The environment and protecting nature's biodiversity, different cultures, indigenous art, food, colour.
Which person, living or dead would you most like to meet? Can I be greedy and say two? Charles Darwin and Sir David Attenborough.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Destination birdwatching where I travel with my family to a specific location because it is the only area that a particular bird species lives, either in Australia or overseas. Travel to Bhutan. Seeing my work in more commercial spaces not only private homes.
What are you reading? Many books with Priya as part of the Premier's Reading Challenge, and an article in National Geographic magazine about measuring nature's biodiversity within a cubic foot, incredible!

images courtesy of quince and sharyn cairns

Thursday, 26 August 2010

stylist carlos mota

I was looking through a recent issue of Elle Decor and fell in love with one of the spreads styled by Carlos Mota. His name was familiar and when I checked out his website, sure enough he had an extensive portfolio. Since contacting Carlos, I've also learnt that he has recently published a book Chic & Cheap Flowers with Random House. Just beautiful.

Which five words best describe you? Fast, impatient,loyal, reliable, funny and unexpected.
What was your first job/career and what path have you taken since? First job was as an interior designer assistant which led me to become a freelance interiors stylist then editor at large at Elle Decor. Now, I'm a free man of the world of interiors styling and design consultant.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don't wait for anyone to do anything. Do it yourself, now. Time is precious as we become older. Believe in the stupidity of people, which sounds rude but no one else will do a better job than yourself! And write thank you notes.
What's your proudest career achievement? My new book Chic & Cheap Flowers.
What's been your best decision? Moving to New York City and following my instincts.
Who inspires you? Anyone different, anyone outrageous, anyone with great personality and a sense of style, anyone with a great sense of humour and a great pair of legs. Colour, 18th-century furniture, the ocean, YSL, Balenciaga. Art in any form and shape, especially old Dutch masters and minimal art. Lately, ceramics and porcelain.
What are you passionate about? Eating good simple food, travelling, meeting people , my iphone camera or new technology, chickens and going to museums.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oh so many: Catherine the Great, Louis XIV, Marie Louise de Noailles, Marlene Dietrich, Francis Bacon, Maria Felix, Jean Michael Frank, any Egyptian king or queen, Elizabeth Taylor, Freddie Mercury, all in my small apartment in NYC for a buffet dinner.
Which dream do you still want to fulfil? To own a private plane or a magazine.
What are you reading? I don't read since I am a visual person! All information comes through my eyes.

images courtesy of carlos mota and william waldron

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

photographer lauren bamford

At what point do you stop daydreaming and start living the dream? For Lauren Bamford it was when "I realised that I needed to take myself seriously as a photographer/artist in order for other people to". Up until that point 9-5 living in an office job left her feeling slightly bitter. She had studied photography but wasn't putting it into practice. So slowly she made changes in her life. Now her work regularly appears in magazines, she has shot a stack of CD covers for bands, and recently held a photography exhibition in Melbourne. She even got to go on an all-expenses-paid road trip through the USA with a Melbourne band who were signed to an American label. "It was incredible, just to be able to document it so casually, and see the country that way," she says. "The trip gave me a huge boost of inspiration and motivation."

Which five words best describe you? Honest, paranoid, tenacious, homey, jovial.
What was your first job/career and what path have you taken since? I wouldn't consider it a career, but my first job (and subsequently many afterwards) was shopgirl, selling kitchen wares and such. Photography has always played a part - in the background sometimes, but the last few years I have been focusing more on making it my livelihood.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That father knows best.
What’s your proudest career achievement? When I see one of my photographs on the pages of a magazine, or the record sleeve of a favourite band, or when a stranger goes out of their way to say something nice to me about my work - they are all proud achievements.
What’s been your best decision? That would definitely be my relocation to Melbourne from Sydney/Newcastle. I really don't know what would have transpired had I stayed north - I didn't have a clue what to do with my life. Somehow, my transition from teenager to adult resulted in me losing my way and forgetting my creative dreams. I didn't have a plan when I moved south, but eventually a whole new life and way of living opened up to me. I've never looked back.
Who inspires you? On an international scale, photographers like William Eggleston, Juergen Teller, Diane Arbus, Jody Rogac. Locally, photographers Karl Scullin, Warwick Baker, Michelle Tran, Darren Sylvester, Ben Butcher, Ali McCann. It really is mind boggling if you just look at what is being created within the small community of Melbourne. Some of my closest friends are creating music and art that has changed my life, and will stand the test of time.
What are you passionate about? Music, art and food.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Prince. And to name just two amazing ladies, Sunday Reed and Diane Arbus.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Apart from the cliches of travel, etc, my dreams are pretty simple. To work and create at my own pace, and live sustainably.
What are you reading? Just Kids by Patti Smith

images courtesy of lauren bamford

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

a little diversion

I don't subscribe to many blogs, but I have to confess that Style Me Romy is one of them. You might recall that I interviewed Romy here.

Well, if you love her styling and edits as much as I do then you can check out her contribution to Mecca Cosmetica this month. She is one of the contributors to a new series the company is doing. And I'm one of them too (I did a little Q&A here), alongside Louise Bell from Table Tonic (who I interviewed here), Eleanor Pendleton from Gritty Pretty, Kat George from Style Lines, Anni Hall from Liner Notes and Michi Girl.

images courtesy of style me romy

Monday, 23 August 2010

spirit level's adam jones

I have long admired the beautiful work of
Spirit Level. Landscape design is the often neglected cousin of interior design when it comes to exposure, recognition and press. I've only found a handful of landscape designers whose work sets them apart from the rest. The men behind Spirit Level are in this bunch of mavericks.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, crafty, capable, cosy, crazy.
What was your first career/job and what path have you taken since? I studied art in London in the ‘conceptual’ 80s and wasn’t too concerned with finding a job for a while. I travelled a lot but one of my favourite first jobs was in a paint & hardware shop in Clapham Common. Later in Australia I specialised in colour, working as a colourist and lecturing at UTS.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Enjoy what you do and avoid the flurry, don’t rush.
What’s your proudest career achievement? There have been many personal achievements. Every day has challenges... I delight in ticking them off. In terms of career, I’m extremely proud of our team at Spirit Level, they do amazing work and the detail they put into each job is exceptional. Landscaping is possibly the slowest form of design to come to fruition. The design process often begins before a property is built and even after construction has finished it’s another couple of years before the original vision is realised.
What’s been your best decision? I don’t know if I’m good at making decisions. My life has progressed intuitively, there has always been room for change and I’m not frightened of stepping sideways.
Who inspires you? Artists inspire me, famous or fringe-dwellers.
What are you passionate about? At the moment photography but I can easily be distracted and obsessed with many things: gardens, art, pattern design, colour theory, philosophy, my partner Vlad, our home, our cats.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Would be great to have hung out with the Bloomsbury Group or to have attended the Bauhaus (School of Art) in the 20s, wow!
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Publish a Spirit Level book, have our gardens/photos feature in Gardens Illustrated, live on a mountain with an alpine garden.
What are you reading? Forests: The Shadow of Civilization by Robert Pogue Harrison

images courtesy of spirit level

Thursday, 19 August 2010

artist sieglinde battley

Colour is a way of life for some people. Meet artist Sieglinde Battley. Before settling in Australia she lived and worked in Norway, Indonesia and Japan. All quite a contrast to East Prussia where she was born and raised. This weekend she will open an exhibition at Harrison Galleries in Sydney's Paddington.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate. Impatient. Critical – with self and others. Brave. Generous.My husband agreed with these and added 5 more. Good ones - Witty, Moral. Bad ones - Glamorous, Wants to dance, Can’t sing.
What was your first career/job and what path have you taken since? I became an apprentice at “Broenners Druckerei & Umschau Verlag”
in Frankfurt, Germany, and learnt about graphic design and all about printing and typesetting before the computer age. I stayed on that path while my children were young and later I studied for a bachelor degree in painting and printmaking. I have been a painter ever since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? When all fails, pack your bags, saddle your horse and ride into the next sunset.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Persisting – not only after success – but in adversity.
What’s been your best decision? To leave 3 husbands and stay with number four.
Who inspires you? Brave people.
What are you passionate about? Justice, a world without wars, cooking, languages, love.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Charles Bukowsky, Anne Rice, Octavian von Hofmansthal.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Speak Italian fluently, fly business class and learn to dance tango.
What are you reading? Lots, because I am an insomniac and I read at night for hours. But right now Watership Down by Richard Adams and loving it.

images courtesy of sieglinde battley and harrison galleries

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

photographer katie quinn davies

Hope you're not feeling hungry. I think these images could convert any food saint. They're the work of Katie Quinn Davies, an Irish photographer who has recently moved to Sydney. She's also a cook, food stylist and graphic designer. Who can compete with that! Her home was featured in the August issue of real living. I love that she decided to teach herself the skills she needed to change careers, getting up at 7am to cook, style and shoot.

Which five words best describe you? Perfectionist, passionate, stubborn, loyal, Irish.
What was your first career/job and what path have you taken since? Shocking to some I am sure, and not that many people I know are aware of this but, my first "real job" was that of a model in Dublin. I didn't enjoy it initially due to dreadful nerves and I had no confidence in myself whatsoever, but over time this grew (somewhat). To be honest I think this is where my love of photography and being in a photographic studio was born. I had studied graphic design in college beforehand but dropped out - mainly due to the modelling which popped up halfway through my second year and distracted me from focusing on my studies.
Ironically, after two years of modelling my urge to return to design became a huge focus for me and I started a junior designer role in a good Dublin design studio, after three years I decided to return to college to complete my qualification. I continued working for the next nine years as a designer until early '09 when I really started to ponder if I was on the right career path. I have always held a fascination for food styling and food photography and often remember looking at stylists and the photographers working on food during shoots I was art directing for clients. I was fascinated by these two professions and always felt it might be an area I would excel in due to my love of food, attention to detail and passion for photography. My move to Australia heightened this for me three-fold due to the abundance of amazing food magazines and wealth of incredible food photographers - I don't think had I stayed living in Ireland I would have been as motivated to make the big leap to change career. There are no food styling courses in Oz and the option of doing a full-time 4 year chef degree was not an option, so I decided to teach myself, getting up every day at 7am, cooking food, styling it, photographing it and editing where needed. I feel my years as a graphic designer have helped train my eye hugely when it comes to the photos, I inherently think very much with the mind-sight of how the photos will be used in print - placement of typography etc... The photography is the main focus for me, but I think it helps greatly that I have such a strong appreciation of the styling side of the process.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? "Don't prepare, prepare to fail"...
What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably one from my earlier days working as a graphic designer in Chicago when I was offered a job at iconic Chicago firm, VSA Partners.
I didn't work there as long as I would have liked as I had to return to Ireland for personal reasons, but it totally moulded my career from that point onwards.
What’s been your best decision? Changing my career from design to food photography - I only wish I'd done it years ago.
Who inspires you? Ditte Isager, William Meppem, Con Poulos, and in general - people who don't sweat the small stuff!
What are you passionate about? Photography, food, throwing big dinner parties for friends and family, music, magazines, Radiohead, graphic design and typography, vintage packaging, quirky pen and ink illustration, expensive high-end designer shoes I can't afford...
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Thom Yorke from Radiohead.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To go back and live in New York. As much as I love living in Australia, I dream to live again in the US, my desire to go back and live there has never gone away.
What are you reading? When Giants Walked the Earth - A biography of Led Zeppelin.

images courtesy of katie quinn davies

Monday, 16 August 2010

floral garden styling shoot

The September issue of real living went on sale today, and it includes a garden shoot I styled. On the day I had the help of Catherine Morgan, who did an amazing job bringing my "vision" to life. The starting point was a favourite reference from Elle Decoration of an enchanted garden. Thanks to Catherine's handiwork with safety pins, you'd never know that underneath were regular foam seats from Clark Rubber. Extra brownie points went to Catherine when she said the double-page spread set-up (you really need to click on it to see what's going on) reminded her of Liberty of London. Deb added that the scene had a touch of Burberry's recent campaigns. But I think that might have been more related to the seated girl wearing socks and an overcoat than anything else. All I see is me running up and down a million steps, scrambling to tidy up the shoot afterwards, getting lost in the back streets of Palm Beach in the dark, racing to get back into the city so I could collect my son from daycare before getting home to pack for a flight to Italy the next day. I have to admit, though, there was a moment when I just wanted to sink into the pile of cushions on the floor and just feel the sun on my skin.

images courtesy of real living and michael wee

Friday, 13 August 2010

photographer colleen duffley

When I was trying to arrange a time to talk to US photographer Colleen Duffley on Skype recently she told me she was out on her Yolo (you only live once!) board and would rush back home to chat. It says a lot about Colleen - not only because she never rests, but also because she's carved out an amazing life for herself. Colleen travels the world with her photography but bases herself on Florida's Emerald Coast. When we spoke she said she often she sees dolphins in the ocean when she's out Yolo-ing! Colleen is not only prolific and successful as a photographer but she's a do-er too. She created the amazing concept of Studio B - which is a place where you can attend creative classes hosted by leaders in their fields. Just check out this roll call of lecturers - yes, that is India Hicks and Jonathan Adler. And I love this quote about Colleen: "I hire Colleen Duffley because she can take a sugar cube and make it look like art." Eddie Nunns - VP/Creative Director NEIMAN MARCUS.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, adventurous, passionate, thoughtful, fun.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? My first job was as a photographer's assistant (while I was in photography school). I assisted a fashion photographer. He was an amazing mentor and taught me photo-integrity and responsibility for the images you take. He still is a dear dear friend and his lessons I use everyday. My path is still the photographic one but I've added director, producer and concept consultant to the resume.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Perseverance, drive and integrity are I think the backbone of any good business. And I think as a photographer/director it's that stick-to-ative ness has served me well.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I guess still being in business after 25-plus years is a pretty big achievement these days. I've had so many great opportunities over that time. Traveled all over the world, meeting great people and celebs who are the best of the best in so many different fields. I've never specialised in one type of photography. People, places, things has been my tag line. I have always shot the works which has opened up so many doors. I have creative ADD is what I've always said... it serves me well.
What’s been your best decision? Choosing a creative field that I can honestly say I have not grown bored with. Becoming a photographer has allowed me to wear lots of hats, go lots of places and meet lots of wonderful people.
Who inspires you? Lots of people do... why you do Natalie... my friends inspire me... people who juggle things in life, have to wear lots of hats, working moms... Gosh, how do they do it??? People who take chances inspire me.
What are you passionate about? Gosh... I'm weird: I'm passionate about lots of things, including my work, cooking, my friends, food... good food, good design, art, music, movies. I love movies! My cats!
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Hmmm. On any given day I'd have a different answer. There are so many. Today: from Ron Howard to Madonna
or anyone who can keep re-inventing themselves.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I want to direct a movie.
What are you reading? I don't have a lot of time for reading but when I do, I get obsessed with it. But my favorite books that I've read over and over are The Warrior Athlete, The Alchemist and The Aritst's Way. I love books.

images courtesy of colleen duffley


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