Following up on the Elle Decoration (which Vic, being a gay man of few stereotypically gay characteristics, misunderstood as a Spanish language publication called El Decoration) photo shoot Friday, first let me thank all of you for your comments and feedback. The “banishment” to the balcony – as I humorously referred to is – worked out okay as it ultimately allowed both Tawn and I to both maintain our respective values and priorities. There was also an opportunity the following morning for a good follow-up conversation and, as these types of situations provide, we were able to better understand each other afterwards, right.
Still, I’m thankful that I was out and about instead of at home for the photo shoot, as it was every bit as much of a stressful mess as I had imagined. I’ve never done photo shoots but I have experience with film and video shoots, and I know that especially for interior shots there is one area of perfection surrounded by a whirlwind of chaos just outside the camera’s field of view.
So it was with our condo. Tawn had spent the better part of Thursday arranging the entire place so that it was neat, tidy, and decorated to the nines.
First though, doing another flashback, on Wednesday our contractor delivered the replacement bookshelves. You may recall that in December I wrote about the china cabinets that arrived according to a design change that I had unwittingly agreed to. Upon their arrival, we discovered that these cabinets were not only not the design that I wanted – my mistake because I had agreed to their change – but they were also not built to the dimensions that Tawn and the designer, Ble, had agreed to. Each dimension – height, width, and depth – was incorrect. I had a vision in my mind of a cross eyed carpenter with coke bottle bottom glasses trying to read the tape measure as he reinterpreted the designer’s dimensions.
Ble was not happy and the contractor, with whom he works on most his projects, had to rebuild the cabinets for us at his own cost.
The new cabinets arrived this Wednesday. This time the cabinets were of the correct dimension and, as you’ll see from the picture below they seem to fit the space much more nicely. The new one is on the right.
The new cabinets also contain an interior light, which was part of the design but had been omitted in the original shelves. These still aren’t bookshelves, although we’ve agreed to mostly place books in them, but they look a lot nicer than the previous ones.
Thus ready for the photo shoot, Tawn had prepared everything with the expectation that the designer would arrive with a few additional props, maybe move a few things around, and then the photographer would take the pictures and go.
Ah, but nothing is that easy. For starters, Ble arrived with his assistant Eddy, and several large pieces of furniture including two porcelain Chinese stools, a large steamer trunk, and two large bedside lamps.
Below right, Ble looks on as Eddy and another assistant move pieces around according to his direction.
Tawn’s tidy setting was quickly untidied and descended into chaos as pieces were arranged. Our bedside lamps, out. New bedside lamps, in, below left.
The photographer was tasked by the editor with shooting twelve different scenes. In a small place like ours – only 68 square meters – that’s quite a challenge. Instead of shooting whole rooms, many of these shots were tightly composed – of a bedside table with decorations, for example.
Ble was a perfectionist for details, below. The bed was not made neatly enough and the original tea arrangement Tawn set out was not what he had in mind so he switched the tray.
Tawn had asked his mother to come over (she has never seen the place before) and to bring two of his dogs, in case the photographer wanted some dogs to dress a scene. Which is kind of funny, considering that his dogs are so skittish that they would come out blurred in an exposure at even the fasted shutter speed.
Left, Khun Nui surveys the scene as shots are taken in the bedroom. Right, now that Khun Chris has left the balcony, the dogs are banished there instead.
Above: Ble takes a break as Eddy makes calls. The photographer’s case is on the kitchen floor and a section of the counter that won’t be in any pictures is packed with things.
Below left: The photographer’s assistant takes a meter reading for the bathroom shot. Right: What the photographer sees, a mirror image of the shot.
After several hours of shooting, seven shots were complete with five to go. Eventually, the team moved to the living room where the table had been set for a tea party. The theme of the April issue will be “throwing a party” and my understanding is that each house that is being shot is decorated with a party theme. The picture below gives you an idea of how chaotic things are just for one perfect picture.
The final shots were taken in the kitchen area. Tawn had pitched the story of this house as “A Baker’s House… Inspired by San Francisco” or something to that affect. I had baked a double batch of cookie dough, rolled it into logs and stored them in the refrigerator as Tawn could actually bake cookies for the shoot. The final shot below is of one showing him in his apron – ever the baker – pulling some cookies out of the oven for his guests.