Hello! It has been a looooooooong time since I last wrote a blog post. I seem to be working at a 100mph at the moment but omg do I love it! I really do feel so so fortunate to have stumbled across this new career which has lit my passion like nothing ever has before. Ok so enough gushing lets get down to business.
A couple of weeks ago I posted that awesome bright blue (Annie Sloan "Giverny") campaign style desk and promised I would right a blog post about the photography and staging aspect.
Photography and "staging" is a big aspect of the business for us furniture upcyclers, or any creatives for that matter; as there is no point creating these knock-out pieces if you can't photograph and display them to really draw those buyers in. I love staging my pieces the way I do because I'm not a conformist and like to do things a little off piste so to speak. This desk was absolutely crying out for something way out there. Enter my fabulous friend Jerry (who I used to work with in a previous role as a teacher).
Jerry and his husband Mark are the most fabulous team behind Our Amazing Animal World. They 'are professional Animal Handlers who love to make people's lives better with the joy of their rescue animals. They love to bring their really Amazing Animals to Parties, Celebrations, Schools, Nurseries, Care Homes, Fêtes, Groups, Clubs and more by offering a totally unique and all round fun, educational and hands-on experience!' - * Taken from their website.
On the day of the photoshoot I set up the workshop ready and waiting. I placed a huge gold gilt frame onto the desk. Within the frame I affixed to the wall two gold mannequin hands which I thought would perhaps support an animal or two within the frame area (Camilla the royal python had other ideas 😆).
Jerry arrived and we quickly got to work. As soon as Jerry saw the mannequin hands he saw my vision and suggested placing Camilla in the hands. Now I'm not squeamish in regards to snakes, reptiles or most creatures and critters apart from spiders, however I would prefer not to be near the head end with snakes (and ferrets) as I know they can bite. Thankfully Camilla was such a little superstar and I got some great shots, albeit not THE shot!
You know when you have THE shot, you get a feel for it when you do it enough. So I asked Jerry to bring out his two bearded dragons Shirlie and Beverley (gosh thats a sentence I haven't said before 😜). Jerry repositioned Camilla so that her head was away from where the bearded dragons would go and then got them out. Although Camilla was no threat to the beardies, Jerry didn't want them to feel threatened. I love bearded dragons, and working with those two was the closest I shall ever come to being Khaleesi Mother of Dragons 😆 I really enjoyed seeing their brightly coloured bodies complimenting my piece so much, they were just perfect.
* This photo was taken a couple of years ago when I went into Jerry's classroom for a nosey and saw the gorgeous Nancy and Ralph on the floor having a little explore... A selfie with them was obviously a must.
Once Beverley and Shirlie were into position I knew we nearly had the shot and was conscious Camilla was starting to explore a little more of her staging area than needed.
Finally we had the shot! I continued to take detailed shots as quickly as I could. These don't take long but the devil's in the detail right?
As I carried on snapping Jerry put Shirley and Beverley safely away, back into their travel box. By this time Camilla had decided she rather liked the lamp shade I had gaffer taped onto the mannequin to make it look like a lamp, so started winding herself tightly around the metal frame. It took two grown men and a few choice words to "encourage" Camilla to unwind herself.
I wanted one final shot, Camilla in the drawer like Beverley and Shirley had been, placed next to my business tag which I add on to all furniture I work on so people know who upcycled the amazing piece of furniture. As Camilla was placed into the drawer, I started snapping. It was then that Jerry asked "if she could get behind the drawer", "errrrrrr, I'm not sure to be honest, I haven't had many snakes try before", "oh shit, she's going in", "oh bollox Jerry, I didn't know".
What happened next was Camilla took her god awful time in considering where she was going to slither off to. We couldn't pull the drawer out as it would squash her and we couldn't access her from any other part of the desk as you can with some of these desks. To then add to the drama she then flicked her tail which I'm told isn't the most friendly of actions a snake can do. With some gentle coaxing, a wooden ruler and a little bit of patience Jerry retrieved a now relaxed Camilla and my desk came away unscathed. Thank god Jerry didn't have to leave her for the afternoon to wait for her to come out 😳
Here's the video of when we finally got her back.
All in a day's work, right?! 😜 I feel so lucky to have been able to work with another small business promoting my work and them promoting theirs. The animals at Our Amazing Animal World truly are amazing, Jerry and Mark look after their babies tirelessly and give so much.
So there you go, its all smoke and mirrors people and this is what it takes to get that scroll stopping shot which I knew was achievable.
Ps Thank you to Jerry at Our Amazing Animal World for bringing along the girls 🐍🦎