Arts & Crafts Magazine

Behind the Photos: Beautiful Props… and Love

By Nellie @blackrabbitvt

Behind the photos: beautiful props… and loveWe do all of our own photography… or maybe I should say, I do all of our own photography… I studied photography in school, and for a while pursued it passionately and for a short while, considered pursuing it professionally. Of course, with digital photography it is not difficult to get great shots quickly, and with image editing software it is easy to improve upon those shots that once would have never gone farther than a contact sheet.

But, there is more to our photos than, well, good photography. Within the photos are settings and props that are close to our hearts – when you peruse our jewelry, you get a glimpse of who we are at home, as well as a bit of family history…

Many of our pieces are photographed on the top of one of my mother’s jewelry boxes. I have always loved her jewelry boxes, which were given to me when I was a teenager, and which I have treasured ever since. One is a black lacquer box from Japan that has a hand-painted landscape on the lid. Beneath the lid are two compartments whose doors have red silk tassels. The box is lined with red ribbed cloth. It is quite charming! The box that serves well as a backdrop for photos is a tall, wardrobe shaped little cabinet with doors that open out to the front, decorated with oval framed paintings by Degas. The three drawers within are lined with turquoise fabric.

Gifts from abroad that I love to use as props are a mother of pearl tray from Thailand, pottery shards my mother-in-law unearthed on a dig in Israel, and a beautifully stitched wristlet from Japan. From closer to home, I enjoy using stones and seashells I gathered in Rhode Island or Cape Cod, driftwood my father brought back from the southwest, and my own antique dresser bought at a barn sale in northern Vermont. Givenchy perfume bottles and a black lacquer Chanel No. 5 flacon make great little lean-tos. Family china rimmed in gold or platinum is terrific for display as well.

We do appreciate the beauty of these things, but what makes these items truly special to us is their connection with our lives. They contain a bit of personal history. When I set up photo shoots of new collections or new designs, I do so with love – not only is every piece of jewelry designed and created with love, but every step of the way, there is love.

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