I've heard a lot of people rave about Portland, and having just spent a few days there, I can completely understand why Portlanders love their city. After our rainy Sunday, Monday dawned with a less damp weather forecast.
I was at ace photographer Carrie Hoge's studio bright and early in the morning. Conveniently, this was located right about the warehouse distributing Quince & Company's beautiful natural-fiber yarns.
Carrie and I got along really well. We spent a lot of time going over the finished items and talking about styling and photographing them. We spoke in very specific terms -- e.g. what specific garments would the models wear with each piece, how would each piece be worn by the model -- and in more general terms, about the overall feel we wanted each item to have. We also discussed which model seemed best suited to wear which piece, given their coloring, their overall "look" and the other clothing we have for them to wear. We even got to visit a lovely boutique called Bliss
where the owner and staff helped us pick some great clothing and accessories to use with our models. (So if you live in Portland, and need some clothes, go give Bliss some love! They're wonderful.)
Doing a photoshoot is a weird mix of exhilirating and excruciating. It's fascinating and exciting to see items that have been concepts and then skeins of yarn transformed into garments worn by gorgeous models. It's also interesting to combine different accessories and other clothing in such a way that they create a cohesive mood, without overwhelming the item you are trying to highlight. Picking an exact location is also tricky; you want something interesting but not too busy and distracting.
At the same time, there is a tediousness about the process -- endless attention to detail and repeating shots. Is the dress she's wearing wrinkled? Steam it. Does the scarf need to be re-draped? Fix it. Is a strand of hair obscuring the model's face or the cowl she's wearing? Is the light right? Does the background detract or add to the shot when things are finally in place? There's lots of retaking, moving, trying this and that.
Fans of Little Miss (and based on the emails and comments I receive, there are many of you) will be pleased to learn that she received a commission to model 2 garments for the book. She was a consummate professional. She looked straight into the camera and wowed us all. She even managed to get her brother to act as impromptu personal assistant and stylist:
Tuesday was another rainy day, so Carrie and I did more styling stuff and also took some still life type shots inside, without live models. It was amazing how fast that day went by even though we didn't do any photography with models. Monday and Tuesday, while I was busy with photoshoot stuff, Tom kept the kids busy with sightseeing
including lighthouses and the ocean,
and the Observatory. Of course they acted like they liked swimming in the hotel pool the best!
Our last day in town was Wednesday, and just as we were packing to leave, the sun came out. We finally got to see Portland under truly sunny skies.
We managed to cram in an early-morning photo shoot (we began at 7:30 a.m.!) and then around noon, my family came to collect me, having packed up all our stuff.
It was time for the long ride home. Here's the Tappan Zee bridge, but we still managed to spend way too much time in car and we were all cranky by the time we got back.
Unfortunately, I can't show you any of the photos from the actual shoot; you'll have to wait until next fall to see them....
So that was my whirlwind trip to Portland, Maine. It's a great city and I love Carrie Hoge. I hope I get to go back again and visit sometime. In the meantime, things are moving along with the book process....