Behind The Scenes on Vogue Living

Confession. I love Vogue Living. I really do. It's the Sydney Opera House of interior design magazines: surprising, refined, a little edgy (I love the way it always curves off in unexpected but joyous directions) and distinctly Australian. It also has a cheeky spirit wrapped inside that taut, dignified body. You could almost say it's the Hugh Jackman of glossies, but let's clear the screen of magazine analogies now.

Many years ago I did a lot of writing for Vogue Living. Correction: I did a lot of secret writing for Vogue Living. Unfortunately, I had a full-time journalism job so I had to do it under a pseudonym that was as faux as the leopard print cushions in the rooms we shot. But I didn't care. It was my dream magazine. I was just grateful for the opportunity.

I remember going along to shoots with the best photographers and stylists of the day – including Earl Carter – and seeing how the pros made magic. It was like seeing what went on inside the top hat of interior design.

So it was interesting to receive Vogue Living's email launching its new Before + After 2102 issue. In this email, VL offered a little editorial tease by (very kindly) allowing a behind-the-scenes peek at at a photo shoot of a Sydney penthouse apartment.

I have to say VL: I love you, I really do, and it breaks my heart to say this, but it wasn't your best story. Or, as they say in fashion, "it wasn't your best angle". At the risk of upsetting those involved (my sincere apologies; I know how difficult it is doing these shoots), this is what I would have loved to have seen instead...

Here's the 'before' shot of that enviable harbour view.
Here's the after:

Are you thinking it's like 'Where's Wally?' too? Okay, it's apparent that a few outdoor chairs have been moved but apart from that, I can't see much of a difference at all. 

What I would have LOVED to have seen is the space BEFORE the VL crew came over: the sports socks and coffee cups scattered here and there, the old Sunday newspapers strewn on the coffee table, the empty wine glasses from the big night before (lipstick stains still attached), and the sexy evening dress thrown over the Egg chair after that great big AFL footballer/banker/visiting Hollywood movie star carried the owner off to bed! (Can't quite see if it's an Egg chair from here, but go with me on this.) 

THEN, I would have loved to have seen how they arranged the floral display (how they even chose the flowers for this space!), how they got the wine stains off the chair, and why they choose what they did for the table scape. 

That would have been a real 'before' and 'after', don't you think? 

And what I really, REALLY would have loved to have seen is how the photographer lit that seemingly dark room and then managed to shoot it with the sunny view outside (all very difficult to do). 

Here's the crew making the bed. Now this is nice. A lovely taupe linen throw, artfully folded and draped just so. But here's what I want to know: What was on the bed before? Was it the Ikea sheets? The hand-made crochet rug? The big hairy dog? Or the AFL footballer/banker/visiting Hollywood movie star?

And what about the artwork? I've worked on shoots where the crew has come in and taken everything away. I mean - Every. Single. Piece. And then replaced the lot with David Bromleys and interesting indigenous paintings.

Also, I like how they've removed their shoes. Very respectful. I notice things like that.

Here's a shot of the crew shooting and observing. This image doesn't tell me a lot. Who chose this for the spread? It shows the bridge and the placement of the apartment, but where are the pix of everybody frantically cleaning the place, styling the corners, moving the furniture? That's what I would have loved to see.

Ah, here we go. Now we're getting there. 
But what about the next shot to this sequence? The styling of the table? The polishing of glasses. The breaking of glasses... 
That would have been better...

Here's a pineapple. 
That banana looks a bit old and cruddy. Helen Redmond (VL editor) doesn't normally allow bad fruit through the Quality Control. (Once I heard her say: "I want six perfect potatoes!" And I just knew they had to be per-fect.) Where's the shot of someone checking the mouldy old banana and taking it away?

Here's the room where the pineapple went. I know what I'm thinking. What are you all thinking?

Okay, so it's a lovely kitchen. (I LOVE a monochrome cooking space.) But not sure about the pineapple people??? It looks like one of the free fruit bowls hotel managers sometimes leave in my room... 

I would have done a tower of chocolate aubergines. Or even an artful display of white ones? 

And why can't they put people in shots anymore? I just find these spaces so empty, stagnant and devoid of life when there's no human movement through them... I know it's a signature look of another interior design magazine (which we won't name here), but can't we show some human life? Even just a pair of shoes on the floor? Just to show somebody lives here?

Apart from that, it's beautiful.

Here's some people looking at a laptop screen, probably to check the images and composition as they go along. 

I know. I'm thinking the same thing. Where are the shots of someone on their hands and knees cleaning the floor? And wiping the table? And sweeping the leaves from that extraordinarily large Fig tree in the background?

Ah, HERE we go! Look at that! Piles of cushions! Now we're seeing the dirt. 
I want to see the BAGS of cushions being brought into the apartment, the TRUCK outside, the REAL styling going on. I want to see the staff laughing, and swearing with exhaustion, and talking about the bad date they had the night before, and why is that AFL footballer still in the penthouse bedroom...???

I'm not a big fan of big, iron-and-steel, bridge-y things in my photos. But that's just me. 
And I'm thinking this terrace needs some 'fluffing'. It needs Faux Fuschia in there to overcushion it. Even one would be nice. Or perhaps some funky lemon, lime and bitter glasses? Or perhaps the AFL footballer leaning over the balcony, sans his robe? (Oh! Did I say that out loud?)

But you know what? It's still a great story, despite my tongue-in-cheek remarks. I think there should be more 'before' and 'after' images like these in magazines. But REAL ones. 

Yes, we even want to see the cleaning lady! And could someone bring that AFL footballer back into shot, please?

{All images via Vogue Living. Buy the latest issue for more insights and loveliness.}

No comments:

Post a Comment