As I prepare to have my sister’s home shot on Saturday, I have come to a number of realizations. First, that which I have come to consider “normal” is anything but. I have had to explain to my Father at least a half dozen times, why we were hanging paintings, photographs, signs, and the like off center, up high, down low or not at all, letting them lean casually on a piece of furniture as if I was deciding whether or not the wall above would become its permanent home. The reason of course is…staging. What gets framed out within the confines of the view finder looks entirely different – dare I say horribly wrong – in real life.
In small spaces, where cameras, and tripods, jigs and jogs in the walls, eaves, and any number of less than perfectly wide-open, square spaces (like say a 1789 home that was renovated – maintaining “most” of its original integrity might have), faking the scene is critical to telling the story.
If this feels like an Is this Real or is it Memorex commercial – it sort of is. For you younger readers, that’s a reference to a cassette tape commercial. If you are still not with me – look it up. I’m thrilled that I have such young readers. The point is, cameras cannot capture everything, despite what TMZ might lead us to believe. There is a lot of pulling pieces into a frame, with great effort, making the dress appear as if it has been tossed on the settee, awaiting the cocktail party in just a few hours, the book lying open on the bed, having just been abandoned for a dip in the ocean. These things are carefully manufactured.
I have been filling this home with furnishings and objects for coming on 6 months now. It wasn’t until the last two weekends that I even attempted to start and set the scene. ( I only work on this project on the weekends). Scene setting is an exhausting endeavor. It requires gathering hundreds of objects, some rare, some cheap but interesting, some vintage, some natural- think shells and drift wood, some art, and some others would never consider art, and pulling it all together. Is there a secret to it? A science? I’m still not sure. I try and test, remove, and replace, add and subtract, curse and commend, and eventually after a little more nudging, a tiny bit of consideration and consultation, arrive at the vignette. Alas, the point of the story. While I cannot show you all I have been up to, I am happy to share this one perfect moment. Perfect, anyway, from my point of view.