The gravel pathways in the Houston garden had been carefully raked, the lemons on the trees appeared ripened, and the chairs we had chosen for our Fashion to Furniture feature had been delivered the day before from Dallas.
MILIEU’s style director, Shannon Bowers, had come upon two vintage Art Moderne armchairs whose lines and form she thought were ideal for the yellow jacquard pattern that Ann Mashburn was featuring in her namesake Atlanta store. As we do for each of these features, we often pair a vibrant pattern with a notable item of furniture, as a way to emphasize the versatility of certain fabrics. As for the garden setting, Shannon thought it, too, was perfect to showcase the elegantly lined chairs. “The garden’s European design appears to be very simple, but it’s not at all simple to create something that clean and precise,” she says.
Our photographer, Brie Williams, had flown in from North Carolina, Ann from Atlanta, and Shannon from Dallas on the morning of the shoot, a notably chilly one. As Brie unpacked her equipment in the home’s dining room and then set up her tripod and camera in the garden, Ann and the chairs were ready for their close-ups.
To emphasize the pattern in a playful way, Shannon had the chairs stacked atop one another. But to get them to stay in place required another pair of hands — that of a staff member holding them up (but not visible in the shot).
One of the challenges for Brie was to get the right horizontal image — always difficult since the framing of a large image is tricky. Also, a horizontal shot means accommodating room on the page for text and making sure that the photo is not compromised within the magazine’s “gutter”, or centerfold. But these challenges were met and by the time the sun had warmed up the garden and the shoot was complete, it was time for lunch.
This story appears in the Spring 2017 issue of MILIEU. To read the complete story, or to see all photos, subscribe to MILIEU's print or digital editions, available by clickinghere.