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  • Palettes // Boston Home Magazine, Summer 2018

    A little while back I was asked to photograph the Palettes series for the Boston Home Magazine. It was great working with the Boston Mag team alongside Michele (@michenator), Andrea (@andrea.timpano1), and Janice (@janicedunwoody)! 

     

    Each still life design is inspired by local MA beaches. The shots came out fantastic! You can find the spreads in the newly released Boston Home Summer 2018 magazine. 

    Stay tuned for more exciting work and collabs!

  • Photographer's Retreat: Plympton, MA

    A couple weeks ago I went on a weekend photo retreat with the Wayfair photo team. We voted on our top Airbnb picks and landed on this lovely antique farmhouse in Plympton, MA; The Black Walnut Tree House. This house was restored beautifully - it was hard not to get a good photo no matter what room we were in. It was such a fun experience to shoot with a group of photographers, bounce ideas off of each other and become closer as a team. 

    We arrived Friday night after a busy work week and began to unwind with dinner and margaritas at this gorgeous sprawling raw wood dining table. 

     

    Saturday morning we all got up early to unload our photo equipment and get straight to shooting. Everyone scoped out their favorite spots when we arrived and coordinated where to shoot so we wouldn't step on each other toes. The house was huge, but it can still be a challenge getting 8 photographers in the same space! I started off shooting in the kitchen, and man does this house have serious #kitchengoals. Every inch of this space made for a good photo, and the light was fantastic!

       

    After that I made my way around the house capturing my favorite details. The more time I spent in each room, the more small moments I would find that I couldn't get enough of. 

      

     

    I pretty much became obsessed with this tiny cat and spent more time than I care to admit getting details shots of him. (There is so much subtle cat decor in this house and I was ALL about it.)

      

    After we all got our fill of interior shots we took a break to drive down to Plymouth for some local fried seafood and ice cream. It was the perfect break and such a beautiful sunny 70º day, we had to get outside and do a little sight seeing by the ocean!

    Once we returned to the house, the team broke up again into smaller groups to capture portraits in the gorgeous afternoon light. We capped off the night with some tasty homemade tacos and spiked seltzer cocktails, and relaxed for the rest of the evening. Sunday morning after breakfast the team began packing up the equipment - but after getting a few last shots of course. We also captured an incredible group shot. 

     

    This trip was an absolute blast, and I highly recommend anyone that's interested in photo retreats to try it out! I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 

  • Light & Color; The Book & Giveaway

    I've just about hit 500 followers on Instagram! So exciting. To celebrate, I designed and printed a book of my Light & Color series to give away. 

    Light & Color is a graphic display of how both light and color interact in manufactured and natural settings. It includes the use of suspended pieces of cut paper alongside vignettes of urban landscapes. The series is an exploration on how primary colors react to light, and how light represents itself in the absence of color in both controlled and uncontrolled environments. You can see the full series here. 

     

    This limited edition hardcover coffee table book is an in-depth look at the full Light & Color series. The book is beautifully printed on ProLine uncoated matte paper, and has a black linen cover under the dust jacket. 

     

    Congratulations to the winner, Dan Phillips! (@dphillipsstudios

  • Spotlight: New City Microcreamery

    A couple weeks back I decided to give myself an assignment to photograph a feature on a local business. Living so close to Hudson is great because this up-and-coming town has so many fantastic small businesses, it was hard to choose one. (I don't have to - maybe this will become a series?) Now that the nice weather is slowly rolling in, I've been frequenting one of my favorite stops in Hudson, New City Microcreamery. It's such a great hangout spot, and the ice cream is some of the best I've ever had! Do yourself a favor and pay a visit if you haven't already. 

      

    New City's open ice cream kitchen is locally sourced and has made from scratch recipes, which makes for fantastic ice cream with unique flavors you won't find at your traditional ice cream shop. They also serve coffee, breakfast and other sweets!

      

    My favorite flavor is their Mint Chip, but this time I had to try Lemon Poppyseed and it was delicious! It tasted exactly like the lemon poppyseed muffins my mom used to make at home. 

      

    There's also an awesome little outdoor patio, and if you look closely you'll see Less Than Greater Than in the background - that's the speakeasy and it's just as awesome at the ice cream shop. I'll have to do a feature there, too!

      

    If my spotlight didn't convince you to take a trip, you can check out their Instagram:

    New City Microcreamery

    Less Than Greater Than

    I hope to see you in Hudson!

  • Featured Photographer Series 005 - Derrick Lin

    It's time for another Featured Photographer! Okay, I'll admit it - I've been slacking on this series. I've just been so busy lately on shoots that I haven't had as much time for the blog. Too many photos to edit over here. So, I'm cutting back on the series and making it bi-monthly. Ideally I'll be filling that gap with more exciting content; I have a lot of ideas on great ways to share more of my work with you. But anyway, this time around my pick for featured photographer is a little bit different. I would even say that he doesn't necessarily define himself as a photographer. Nevertheless I am so inspired by his whimsical and original work, and I wanted to have a little fun with this one, so here he is! 

    Derrick's work is so stinking creative and I am constantly amazed at each new photo he conjures up. Though he shoots purely with an iPhone, the quality and originality of the work speaks for itself. The small scenes he creates are expertly captured and leave the viewer feeling like the 'subjects' are almost in a real space. I find myself almost playing "I Spy" (if you remember these books growing up you get 10 points) and deconstructing the pieces that make each photo. I also can't forget to mention how happy the color palettes make me. There is a little humor injected into the photos that really adds to the overall experience when viewing Derrick's work. Every time I'm surprised and delighted by how simple and clever his shots are! Here are a few of my favorites: 

     

      

       

    Derrick also has a book out featuring his work - check it out here on Amazon! 

    You should follow him on Instagram, @marsder. I highly recommend scrolling through Derrick's feed. It's so fun and you're lying if you say you didn't get hooked. 

  • Not Putting In the Effort.

    Lately, I've been in a bit of a creative rut - I just haven't been feeling it and it's a bummer. There seems to be a sort of negative energy in the air of social media, and despite some great new opportunities and exciting projects coming my way (I will elaborate on this very soon!), winter just tends to bring me down. My purpose for having this blog is to brush up on my writing skills, and be more comfortable speaking about my work on a frequent basis. The goal I originally set was one post a week, and I've certainly missed a few as of late. Without rambling on much further - this week's post has a bit of a different flavor, and I'm hoping it will be the catalyst that pulls me out of this funk. 

    I've become a frequent attendee of local Portrait Meetups, and have nothing but good things to say about my experiences. The energy at a good meetup is palpable; the excitement I get to edit and retouch a whole slew of new images has almost become an addiction... to the point where I think I started to burn myself out. I have so much work that I'm about a month behind on posting it all, which I thought at the time was a nice problem to have. Now I'm realizing that it's put me in a position where by the time I get to sharing the work, I've lost that initial excitement. Unfortunately this has taken a little of the fun out of it. I'm not giving the meets up cold turkey, but I'm pumping the breaks a little. 

    There was an actual moment that caused this turning point, although I wasn't aware of it at the time. It was at the Girl Magic Meets Galentine's Day mini-meet. (Try saying that five times fast - I'll abbreviate as GMM here on out.) Don't get me wrong - it was a fantastic meet and I love how empowering this community is... but I totally phoned it in that day, and I regret it. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon at an indoor location, which meant using lighting was a must. I had already spent the entire day prior shooting at a different Portrait Meet that was also indoors, and after using my speedlight for a majority of the day my sad, little out of shape arms were tired. At the GMM I tried to take the easy way out, be lazy and leave the speedlight in my bag. I ended up wandering aimlessly knowing why none of my shots were coming out great but not doing a damn thing about it. 

    I had put in the effort to sign up for the meet, drive 40 minutes to the location, meet all these new creatives, and then essentially gave up at the crucial moment. We were given an awesome opportunity to shoot in an old movie theatre in between showings. Obviously it was too dark for anything without strobes, but I was too lazy to grab it out of my backpack. What were easily my best photos from the day are now unusable due to noise. I've easily spent at least triple the time it would have taken me to walk over and grab my speedlight out of my bag trying to save them in post - and there's no saving them. I'd like to share the images here anyway because as much as I'm disappointed in them, I've learned a valuable lesson from the experience. From now on, if I'm showing up - I need to be there 100%. 

      

        

    Grace (@graciedrinkwater) and I shot some awesome images together, and I wish the quality was good enough for me to use in my book. You can't tell just how noisy these low res versions are, but trust me - there's quite a bit. Let me know what you think; noise and all, are they still worth posting on IG?

    Normally I try to keep my blog posts more positive, but felt that sharing this could be helpful for some. It's definitely been a learning experience for me. First of all, if you've made it this far reading, that means a lot to me - and thank you! Second, if any of this has resonated with you, I'd love to hear about it. Onwards and upwards, my friends! There are a lot of great things on the horizon, and I can't wait to share it all with you. 

  • Personal Style Series: Jackie Grandon

    It's time for another look at my Personal Style Series! This week, I'm featuring Jackie Grandon and her cheery, eclectic apartment in Providence, RI. I was so happy to photograph this space; Jackie and her roommate/our close friend Sarah Dickenson have clearly poured their hearts into the decor of their home. Each corner and shelf has a quirky moment that perfectly captures each of their personalities. Even Sarah's cat Jillian (commonly referred to as Jilly Bean) got in on the fun of this shoot! I'm obsessed with this series, and I hope you enjoy them just as much. 

    The Personal Style Series is an in-depth look and profile of Wayfair's Stylists and their favorite room, nook, piece of furniture or decor in their home. The interior photographs paired with environmental portraits are a projection of each Stylist's personality injected into their space and brought to life. 

      

    Tell me a little about yourself. 

    I am a prop stylist and have been working for Joss & Main for just over two years. In my spare time, I listen to electro funk and weave tapestry wall hangings. I love the ocean, sushi, the color teal and anything antique brass. I am a Massachusetts, North Shore native currently living in Providence, Rhode Island. I went to Skidmore College for my degree in Studio Art, where I studied drawing, printmaking and textiles; because you know, who needs sleep? Art has been a major part of my life since I was young. My parents still have artwork hanging around their houses that I made in grade school. My father is very artistic, talented in drawing and sculpture. I remember one of the first drawings I was truly proud of was one that he helped me with when I was 10 years old - a parrot perched on a chair done in oil pastels. Who knew all those doodles and crafts would take me all the way through college to my career? There was one weekend I was home from college visiting family and all of us kids made s’mores in the backyard; Rachel, Tom, Erica and Emily were stuffing their cute little faces with as many s’mores as possible, covered head to toe in sticky marshmallow. I started to take pictures of my siblings licking their fingers, smearing chocolate on their faces, all with grins from ear to ear. This random night alone with my brother and sisters ended up being a semester long study of portrait drawing based on these sticky photos as well as other snapshots from my childhood.  As my college work progressed it took me to Florence, Italy my junior year to further study textile design and portraiture. This magical city is where my interest in interior design and home furnishings really came to fruition. 

      

     How did styling become your passion? 

     I guess you could say styling is a new passion of mine? When I graduated college, I was sort of unclear where I wanted to go next. I studied what I was passionate about at the time, but I wasn’t sure where it could take me. I did the classic “move back home and wait tables” for a year, but while doing that, I helped my mom flip a house in Newburyport, MA. It was an old “tear-me-downer” in the historic district which means two things; quirky and tiny. When the construction and renovation was done, after countless weekends going to pick out tile, countertops, light fixtures and paint colors, we realized something; HOLY SHIT THIS PLACE IS SO SMALL. That’s when my mom hired me to stage the house. We had one weekend and no money, but I made it happen. And that’s really where it began! From there I worked for a real estate agency in the Greater Boston Area staging all of their property listings. That’s when I realized working in interior decorating was exactly what I wanted to do. I met my best friend, Natasha, at that staging job and I can say with confidence she is a huge reason why I am doing what I do today. She helped me build confidence in my styling and my personal aesthetic, and taught me things about interior design that I still use every day. If you ever want to know anything about antiques, she’s your gal. After a year of home staging I was ready for a new adventure, and that’s when I found Joss & Main! I always wanted a job that was creative and ever-changing, the “anti-desk job” if you will. I absolutely love being a stylist. Each day is different and challenging. Creating images with other super talented creatives, for the whole world to see is so exciting! I have finally found a job that puts my constant need for symmetry and nagging urges to rearrange things on a shelf to good use. Some may call it obsessive compulsive, but I call it attention to detail - haha. 

       

    What makes this space in your home your favorite? 

     When you approached me about doing this stylist series, I immediately knew exactly where I wanted to shoot in my apartment. My dining table is my absolute favorite personal belonging. My sister, Rachel, and I grew up eating our meals at this table every day. I guess you could consider this my first family heirloom? This table doesn’t have a SINGLE piece of metal in it - no 2 inch screws, metal hinges, or plastic anything. This thing is as solid as it gets and I absolutely adore it. It’s perfectly imperfect with its slightly wobbly right leg, a subtle green paint smudge from one of my many messy childhood crafts, and a mysterious water ring that has been there forever. Now instead of finger painting and after school snacks around this table, it’s dinner and wine with my roomies and friends, listening to records and having deep conversations like “what is the superior shape?” (The answer is triangle). Yes, that was a real conversation. 

     When I told my mom I was doing this interview, I realized I wasn’t sure where this table actually came from! For as long as I could remember this table was in the kitchen of our old 1692 colonial farmhouse. Turns out my mom bought it at an antique shop up north when she was my age, and it had supposedly come from an old tavern - so I think it’s safe to assume that mysterious water mark is probably from a sweaty pint glass inside some long-gone NH bar. How awesome is that?! My space is eclectic but more importantly it’s personal. This room has a little bit of everything; my pair of antique spindle chairs from Brimfield Flea Market, prints and drawings that I made when I was in school, alongside my handmade ceramics and some of my roommate, Sarah’s, great little decor treasures.  Most of these pieces have a story and a history, some known and some a mystery, but they all somehow work together in this one little space. 

     

    Where do you find inspiration for your personal style? 

     My personal style is all over the place, so my sources of inspiration are reflective of that. I am no stranger to Pinterest. I probably pin close to 25 pins a day in my secret “Dream Home” board alone! Sick, I know... but I find that it can really help with that creative block! If I have to style 5 consecutive living rooms, chances are by the 4th one I’m going to need a new idea for a coffee table style moment. I remember in college during Friday morning group critique sessions, my professor would ask us to have inspiration images in hand while presenting our assignments, and I would always get so annoyed by this! I’m trying to be an individual with my own voice, why would I bring someone else’s work to the table? But now I get it. Domino magazine is one of my favorite places for inspiration, especially for my own personal spaces. If you have never explored their “Galleries” page on their website you’re missing out; their galleries are broken down by room or image content. A lot of the styling they feature is very eclectic; modern pieces mixed with antiques and personal touches, which pretty much sums up my own aesthetic. I’ve got rustic, mid-century modern and bohemian all wrapped up into one cute little room. Growing up in an old farmhouse really formed my love for old, quirky spaces at an early age, without me even realizing it. My mom has the eye for a cozy home and a love for antiques. I have so many memories of going into antique shops along the Massachusetts coastline hunting for a treasure, for that perfect little nook back home. A couple of my favorite pieces of furniture are pieces that have either been handed down to me from my mom or grandparents, or are pieces that I have found during those infamous treasure hunts! 

        

     How does your personal style translate into your work as a stylist? 

     My personal style is definitely focused around collections; whether it’s teacups, candle holders, or cute little plants, these are little whimsical touches that I love to try and incorporate into my commercial work. These little collections are a key component to styling for these lifestyle brands; layering those personal items in with the merchandise being featured. I have also really gotten into experimenting with floral design. I try and take workshops and watch online tutorials whenever I can. I am definitely no expert, but I have so much fun playing with different colors and textures and incorporating my ideas into centerpieces and tabletops at the Wayfair photo studio. 

        

     What are some of your favorite local places to source props/find decor for your home? 

     I recently found Crompton Collective in Worcester, MA. It’s a goldmine. There is a fantastic, ever-changing inventory of antiques at super reasonable prices, as well as a great selection of handmade goods by local artisans. Brimfield Flea Market is another obvious destination for one of a kind finds. I found a pair of antique spindle dining chairs (the yellow one beautifully featured here in my dining room) with my favorite junk hunting partner, Natasha. Her and I were finishing a cold rainy day at Brimfield, on our way back to the car when we came across these two little chairs sitting out in the rain. The seller was desperate to get rid of them, so I scored these babies for $25 total. Deal of the century. Oldies Marketplace in Newburyport is another regular spot I visit whenever I’m in town. I am also a shameless trash picker, a habit I have picked up from my mother. I used to always make fun of her for picking up old free furniture off the side of the road, but now I’ve joined the club. My mom and I were recently on our way to a floral workshop this winter when we walked by a free box of fajita plates out on the sidewalk. I took them and I am not ashamed.  Friends get ready, fajita night is coming soon. 

    See the full photo series here. 

    Where you can find Jackie: 

    jackiegrandon.com

    Instagram: @jorkiejork

  • Cheap Camera Challenge

    Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a Cheap Camera Challenge. I've seen these on YouTube before from other photography channels and always thought it was a fun concept. To be honest, I was pretty nervous when Dan Phillips (Check out his Instagram!) asked me to be part of one of these for his channel. Mostly because I didn't love the idea of not knowing what camera it would be, and that it was film. I've shot film a little here and there, but nothing too crazy. I didn't want to be caught off guard and look foolish. I considered turning it down multiple times but knew that it would be a good learning experience even if I failed. And you know what? It was not a fail and I'm super glad I did it. 

    The video was made for Dan's YouTube channel (link below), and Aline Chaprazian (Check her Instagram!) was my model for the day. I was tasked with shooting with this lovely little green Kids 'R' Us 35mm film camera. 

    There were certainly obstacles that day. We just so happened to be shooting on one of the coldest days so far this winter. (The thermometers maxed out at a whopping 7º in the sun.) Everyone was a good trouper - we had to take multiple breaks inside to thaw our frozen fingers. I also had a few technical difficulties with the camera; the film was not winding correctly. Between that and my fingers being popsicles it was challenging at times to get the shot. I also ended up with far less frames than the roll had to offer due to the film slipping (and also my patience in the frozen Boston tundra). Another challenge was that the lens has a fixed focal range. I kept trying to come in for tighter shots, but this camera would just not allow it. Despite my preconceived notions and challenges, we got some awesome images! 

      

        

    I had such a great time filming this project with Dan and Aline. Although the image quality may not be stellar, I love the look of these photos! Even the film slipping gave some of the shots a cool effect. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I feel better for it. What I loved about it was actually one of the things I was worried about the most - shooting film caused me to slow down and take more time composing the shot. With digital, I typically shoot way more than is necessary. Doing this challenge has helped me to be more purposeful with my frames. I'm all for trying this challenge again sometime, just in a little warmer weather. You can watch the video on Dan's channel here: 

    Cheap Camera Challenge in Boston

  • Featured Photographer Series 004 - Ally Schmaling

    It's that time again - and what better time to feature such an awesome lady than Galentine's Day! February's Featured Photographer is:

    Ally Schmaling

      

    Ally Schmaling and I met at the most recent Let's Shoot Boston event, held at deWolfe Leather Goods on Newbury St in Boston, and I'm so glad we crossed paths. Ally is a ball of fire and is one of the most enthusiastic and positive photographers I've had the pleasure of being in the vicinity of. Her work is also fire. 

        

    Ally's use of color is fantastic; each photo feels timeless and powerful. She is especially skilled in photographing women in their best and brightest light. Ally has a thoughtful approach to her subject matter and a spatial awareness in her photography that is just magical. Her intimate wedding and portrait work has a calmer aesthetic, but is equally as mesmerizing. Ally beautifully captures her subject's personality and character in each frame. 

      

      

    Ally's work seems to get progressively more outstanding each time she posts an update - she is truly a force to be reckoned with in photography. Her portrait work is such an inspiration for me in my own work to not only be aware and purposeful with the subject, but also the background and the relationship between the two. 

    If you haven't seen Ally's work, do that. Support her work.

    Here's where you can find her:

    allyschmaling.com

    Instagram

  • Personal Style Series: Kat McAllen

    I'm excited to share another installment of the Personal Style Series! This week, I'm featuring stylist Kat McAllen and her sweet nursery she designed for her daughter Harper. 

    The Personal Style Series is an in-depth look and profile of Wayfair's Stylists and their favorite room, nook, piece of furniture or decor in their home. The interior photographs paired with environmental portraits are a projection of each Stylist's personality injected into their space and brought to life. 

      

    Tell me a little about yourself.

    I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, where I dedicated my life to Soccer. My number one goal in life was to be the next Mia Hamm, so everything I did and every choice I made was influenced by this. After placing third in the Nation in a club tournament and essentially peaking in my career as an athlete, I found myself at a major crossroads after finishing high school. Becoming the next Mia Hamm was no longer my ultimate goal, so I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and who I wanted to become. 

    Coming up with this answer took a lot of soul searching, self-reflection, and changing my major four times.

        

    How did styling become your passion?

    My passion for styling was instilled at a very young age when I received a large Barbie house as a Christmas gift built by my father. I observed that my friends were more interested in playing with the dolls themselves, while I would spend hours rearranging the furniture and creating décor. As I grew older, the passion I had for designing my doll house translated into other spaces in my life, such as my room, dorm room, and now my house. Eventually I realized that it was more than just a hobby, it was my calling, and with that it became my career. 

    What makes this space in your home your favorite?

    Most people are likely to say that the kitchen is their favorite space as it is generally considered to be the heart and soul of the home. For me, my daughter Harper's room is my favorite space because she is the heart and soul of my life. It is a place where I feel the most at home and connected to my daughter. The simplicity of the space provides a sense of calm with a few whimsical accents to make it both fun and light.

    Where do you find inspiration for your personal style?

    I find inspiration in everything, especially through small, everyday treasures. Something as simple as a picture my daughter and I painted can provide me with the inspiration I need for a creative design moment or an intricate gallery wall. I believe that inspiration is everywhere - it’s just a matter of keeping your eyes open. 

    How does your personal style translate into your work as a stylist?

    I feel my personal style translates into my work every day through the small ‘lived in’ moments and personal touches of history. Whether the history is in a piece of handmade artwork, an heirloom, or a piece of antique furniture, there is sense of personalization which makes it feel authentic.

       

    What are some of your favorite local places to source props/find decor for your home?

    • Ikea
    • Etsy
    • Marshalls/TXMaxx/Homegoods
    • Thrift Stores
    • Antique shops
    • Yard Sales / Estate Sales
    • Craigslist
    • Ma and Pa shops
    • Literally anywhere and everywhere

    See the full photo series here. 

    Where you can find Kat

    Instagram @k.mcallen