Monday, February 17, 2014

A Home for Your Photography

by Carol

Hard at work in Peter Simon's studio on Martha's Vineyard

Do you have a space that's dedicated to your photography?  I shared a You Tube video with my FOL sisters this month that has me dreaming, and I thought maybe you'd like to dream along. It's a lovely, peaceful outing with Michael Zide, a wonderful photographer. You will love watching this - his work is gorgeous, and instructional, and his walk in the woods is accompanied by soft music. I can feel my blood pressure going down as I watch. I'm hooked - I pushed the "subscribe" button. But I was also captivated by his studio. If I was a bazillionaire, that is just how mine would look. 

First of all, I love New England, and it looks like it's in a Cape Cod style house, colonial era (my favorite). There is a double door to the outside and a gorgeous woodsy scene out the window, that makes it look like it's on a beautiful piece of land.  And look how clean it looks! That's because it has storage everywhere, but it's not invasive. All those little cabinets and bookcases....sigh.  And a great big beautifully restored wooden desk, big enough to lay your matted prints out on. And walls enough to hang your work, and tables to display your nature finds. Good lighting, comfy chairs, there's even a fireplace! .   Here - watch it for yourselves:

I have a house that's over 100 years old. I love old homes, but it's well known that they have no closets! I have 1 1/2 bedroom closets (to 3 bedrooms), a decidedly damp cellar, and a shed that lets the winter in. That's it for my family of three, plus 2 animals, and my hobby - photography.  I love my home - it fits me perfectly, and I never forget to be grateful for it.  But in my dreams I have a few more closets and walls ( and of course, the cellar is not damp, nor the shed falling down  - just saying....) I work at a desk in a nook. Since my daughter got an apartment, the half closet in her room is filled with gear. Her bookcase is filled with photography books, and her armoire is filled with my prints. By my desk, another armoire holds my printer, and garage sale-find trunks hold ink and paper supplies, card stock, cutting boards, etc., etc. And I am in need of more space already!

Pottery studio , Gordes France

Savannah School of Art and Design, La Coste France Campus
 student studio

I recently took a framing course. If you start entering exhibitions, it kinda becomes a must, unless you have money to burn. And the most economical way to do it, is to buy in bulk. They recommended suppliers who sell mat paper in bulk, frame pieces by the side length, and glass in sheets. The plastic bags to sell your prints in and the bubble wrap come in 100 bag boxes. Luckily I'm not into portrait photography, as is my friend who also has to store all her props. So I love to page through storage ideas.

Hard copy 4x6 storage fill the rafters at Alison Shaw's studio, Oak Bluffs Mass.

And then you need room to cut the mats and to store the leftovers. A nice mat cutting and framing table can be created by pushing a few waist high cabinets together and making a top. That allows storage of some of these things in the cabinets underneath. It's neat and efficient - but where would I put it? Standardizing was suggested, so that you buy one type and size of each thing, and then print to it routinely. Having a fixed number of the same size frames, allows you to mat the pictures you have shown, then pull them out of the frames and store them matted, in archival boxes until they are needed again. Another helpful suggestion was ordering these lots with your photography friends and splitting them up into manageable numbers for each person. But I kinda feel like I'm on my way to being that crazy lady down the block who's decor is buried in piles of paper! 

Sainte Paul's Asylum, Sainte-Remy, France
Van Gogh's room  (sunflowers right out that window)

So I seek out the studio tours, I read the blogs that show workspaces (like Kim Klassen's), and I have a "storage ideas for small spaces" board on Pinterest. And I spend the winter nights dreaming in designs. When I hit that lottery - I'm going to be ready.

Maine Studio, Artist Lois Dodd

What is your space like? Is yours a messy or organized chaos? Do you have any great ideas to suggest? How do you store everything? Show us your spot in Flickr or Instagram please before I turn into a  worse  hoarder!

My Nook ( and my helper)


Sarah Huizenga said...

There is never enough space. We have one bedroom that is a "craft room" which is really a craft storage room. I never actually work in there but I do reorganize it once or twice a year.

AFishGirl said...

I spy Yoda in Lego, am I right? Happy are you, the photographer. Pictures to take, we must.

Carol said...

You have a good eye Pam!.. I couldn't bear to take that one apart when my son out grew it - love Yoda I do, and the force is with me when I'm creating!
OK off to work!

Dotti said...

Oh, my! Such a thought provoking post for photographers and scrappers. And what beautiful studio photos you've shared. Yes, we all dream of that 'perfect studio', don't we? I'm fortunate that I do have the use of a whole room. We turned one of our bedrooms into an office years ago. Then when I began photography, I just kind of took over the whole room, closet and all. Now is it organized? That's a post and a task for another day! {As I watched the video, I found myself wondering how heavy that camera bag must be!}

kelly said...

i can totally relate to this! we have a teeny upstairs office that i recently decided to take over with my scrapbook and photography stuff. it needs way better organization, but it's nice to have a dedicated space. we have an old house too, so i feel your pain!

Katie said...

We decided that we are much more the "eat-in-the-kitchen-for-all-occasions" type of family, so I took over our formal dining room for my office. I'm not nearly as advanced in the way of printing as you are, but it's nice to have a place for all my gear and my books. Across from my desk is a big comfy chair that I like to curl up in and read. To borrow a title from Virginia Woolf, I have "A Room of My Own". : )

Kim Stevens said...

I do have a dedicated room, but it is filled to the brim with jewelry supplies, and a kiln for firing my metal clay and there are no shelves in the closet. I work at a desk in an open area upstairs, but am going to move my desktop into the other room so I can have a quiet place to work (shut the door). I still need another small table that I can saw at and hammer on, but where to put it - where to put it!! I can't even begin to think about matting and glass and frames...oy, my head hurts, lol! Loved seeing the spaces you shared, and yes Michael's voice alone is very calming. (P.S. I googled and found he has a facebook page)

Carol said...

Dotti - That was my second major thought watching this - that bag must be SO heavy! Funny that you noticed it too! Your perspective changes as life goes on!

Anonymous said...

I have a room upstairs that I could use, but I don't like being isolated up there! Windows have solar screens and it hard to see outside and that just doesn't work for me. I have to be able to see my backyard, just in case that one of kind bird or butterfly stops by lol!
Great post and video! Thanks for sharing :)

terriporter said...

I feel lucky that I do have a room of my own. When my oldest son graduated from college and moved into his own place, I took over his room, at that time for my scrapbooking supplies. There were already built-ins and a nice large closet so it was perfect. My computer and wide-format printer are there and I added a nice high work table because I like to stand when I scrap. But it is amazing how many scrapbooking supplies you can amass when you have the room to store them! It is my plan to try to whittle them down to only the ones I know I'll use but it's like cleaning out your closet. You keep saying to yourself, "Well this is cute. I know I'll use (wear) it someday" and back in the closet it goes. I need to be ruthless! Maybe if I free up some space I can think about matting and framing my own stuff. Thanks for this fun and thought-provoking post, Carol!

Deanna said...

You have a really cozy corner, and a sweet mate to keep you company. I do have a room now that everyone is now gone, and right now it is a mess, and definitely needs some hands on clean up and neatness. And one whole side of my basement is filled with all my rubber stamp supplies, paper, stuff, and definitely needs some cleaning out. I see garage sale in the future.

heyjudephotography said...

I am a complete "creative space" dreamer! I too am always looking at ideas for creative spaces, but at this point do not have my own designated room for my work. I have an area of our very large living room, and although it works just fine, I'm always dreaming of my own space with a door and oh so much more! Your nook looks inviting, and it seems your companion loves it too!

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