Trying to book and then execute a photo shoot in Melbourne in the year of 2020 is a bit like sticking pins in your eyes… over and over again. Much of the year has been spent booking and rebooking and booking and rebooking (times 5), following Dan Andrews' famous Sunday arvo pressers on the latest lockdown rules.
“It’s not the end of the world if it gets delayed by a couple of weeks", we said, then “okay, another 4 week delay isn’t ideal but we can make it work”, we said, then “mmm this is beginning to become a little problematic but we’re a flexible and adaptable bunch, it’ll be fine”, we said, then “okay this is actually really crap, give me a moment to gather myself”, we said, then “I give up!”, we said.
So you can imagine, when we actually got the green light to move ahead, it was no kidding an emotional moment and one we were cautious to even believe. I actually sat and wept like a baby… I know it’s just a photo shoot, but it’s what we do, it represents all the good stuff about this brand, and without a pathway to photographing our glorious Alegria Collection, things were getting a little… ehrm… concerning?
When the day finally arrived, it was not only the first time we’d had our photo shoot crew back together but also the first time many of my team had actually seen each other in person for a long, long while. I wanted to race up with arms wide open for a group hug, but instead we awkwardly stood and elbow-pumped one another with nervous excitement.
Set in an Australian bushland setting, there were plenty of ooooh’s and aaaaaah’s upon entering the home. An Alistair Knox original, it exuded the warmth and depth that only truly talented architects can bring. In Knox’s signature style, it featured brick flooring, generous timber beams and ceilings, mud brick and a cool 70’s atmosphere that I’ve become particularly enamoured with. After months of being locked up at home, I was like a kid in a candy store.
We took over the ‘billiards’ room - bumping in all manner of wonderful product and props until the bluestone floors could barely be seen. A beautiful, organised mess… It was all systems go from there on in. They were long days (as we squeezed a 5 day shoot into 4), the muscles got quite the workout, along with the kettle, the iron and the coffee machine stolen from the office.
The light was beautiful there. We had golden, summer days. Sun rays shone through the pretty garden and into the windows, bouncing light across every surface. There were moments of magic and, at the risk of sounding a little dramatic, it felt like a re-birthing after months of a long, cold winter being locked inside our homes.
There was a beautiful creative flow to the photo shoot… everyone in the crew just delighted to be creating again. All of that pent up energy expressed with such purpose and clarity. And our Alegria Collection couldn’t have been a more perfect subject - it is all about joy and the acknowledgment of simple pleasures, after all.
Then the kids joined us, for a day of riotous fun. They raced into the house, which resembled a giant cubby house, and found THE bunk room of all bunk rooms. With toys dotted around and a camera on cue to capture all of their giggling, excitable moments, it took me back to my own childhood… to memories of a special place, which had the same nostalgic vibe and where so many of my cherished moments took place in.
As the final day came to a close, there was a feeling of connectedness. We actually did it! A shoot that we’d all wished for and waited for and desperately hoped for was nearing completion. And the home was kind to us, it did a wonderful job of being the very homely backdrop we'd hoped for.
I’ve done shoot after shoot after shoot in this biz, but this one felt particularly special. X
P.s. A big thank you to team Sage x Clare and the crew - Armelle Habib, Heather Nette King, David, Mel, Katie, Kara, Maki and Sara. Also, thank you to our prop partners - Curated Spaces, Coco Flip, CCSS, Domo, Sarah J Curtis, Lights Lights Lights, Retro Print Revival, LMDI Collection and Nord Modern.