Last Friday saw me (and many others) stomping round homes in North London for the Livingetc House Tours. In case you're not familiar with the tours, homes that have previously been featured in Livingetc are open to the public for one day only and give nosy people like me the chance to take a peek at some fantastic (and some less so, but that's down to personal taste I suppose) interiors. AO.com (as one of the sponsors) had employed me for the photography of the interiors on the day which meant that I was lucky enough to be able to take photographs even in the homes where photography wasn't actually allowed.
There was only one problem with taking interiors images on a tour like this: I was supposed to "blend in" and not disrupt the tour. That meant that I couldn't work with a tripod which is usually important to me for this kind of work. As a "natural light photographer" (i.e. I don't rock up with a van load of lighting, but rely on the existing light and - if necessary - long exposure times) darker interiors can be a challenge without a tripod. Having to shoot everything with my camera hand-held (or "shooting from the hip" as I like to call it) meant that I had no choice but to crank up the ISO which is something I don't usually like. Then there's the obvious fact that a room (generally) has straight walls and right angles which means that I rely on setting up my camera correctly on the tripod before taking an image. Last, but not least, trying to concentrate calmly on a shot with lots of people walking in and out of it can be just a little unnerving and things inevitably get rushed which I unfortunately feel had somewhat of an impact on the quality of my images... But enough of the challenges and back to this amazing home. This is the home and studio of artist Rory Dobner and the first of three homes I will share with you.
Incidentally, this one didn't allow photography, so I have to admit to feel hugely privileged that I was able to take these pictures. I could happily have spent the entire day in the studio alone with its fantastic (natural) light, some gorgeous furniture pieces (I'd kill for that chair below!) and of course Rory's amazing work. The entire home had a bit of a "cabinet of curiosities" feel to it and it was obvious that this wasn't a home set up for show but a very personal space. Rory's work and inspirations were featured throughout and it had a cosy feel without being stuffy.
I wish I could tell you more, go on and on about how inspirational it was, but when it comes to interiors, what's the point in words? It seems wrong to write sentence after sentence about all the details when I feel that words just wouldn't do them justice and a picture explains it much better. Besides, I wouldn't want to second-guess the owner's reasons and decisions without personally knowing them. So I will leave you to (hopefully) enjoy the images of this inspirational home.