I guess I was in denial.
It was Christmas time after all, and I didn't really want to deal with the all of my looming financial issues. Besides, I had a job shooting this famous decorator's home for Christmas. I was excited, and invited my assistant to make the trip with me. She was a fan of this decorator and knew all of the "ins and outs" and history of the house. I was very impressed, for sure, but my assistant was at the "groupie" level and with good reason. We got some vague info about the job from the designer's executive assistant, and honestly I was totally unsure if it was a "for pay" job or simply the opportunity to create a portfolio piece around this house. Either way, I was up for the work and excited for the money it would bring in (I hoped). In any case, it was a great distraction.
It was a long, snowy drive on a dark and cold winter morning. My assistant and I chatted all the way about this fun opportunity and seeing the home in all its Christmas finery. Certainly a home on this level did "holiday decorating" beyond our dreams? We arrived to meet a small staff in-residence and went about the entire home, listing shots and envying the fragrant and lush amounts of greenery on mantles, banisters and table tops. The house was aglow with the warm, late afternoon light. We got right to work styling and photographing. I began by moving items slightly to make everything in the images work. Sometimes what one thinks makes a great photo often needs some reworking within the camera lens to create perfection. I adjusted greenery, moved a chair in or out, gently cleared or added to the decor as I strived to make the most beautiful final image. I call this "styling," which happens to be my first career and one that works nicely with the newer reinvention of myself as photographer. I am able to do both, which certainly comes in handy on many of my jobs with "collapsed" budgets. At any rate, we ended up with about a day-and-a-half of work in order to cover all the rooms and guest house on the property. We were also guests that night all alone in the house. which was wonderful and also a bit spooky. The guest rooms were perfectly appointed, with the most beautiful sheets, just as lovely and wonderful as you might expect. It was all quite comforting. But I was on edge and nervous, and that part wouldn't all play out for another month...
Three Christmas things you might not know about me:
*I decorated twelve 20 ft Christmas trees at the Mall of America in the center rotunda for a group of advertisers including Noritake China and General Foods International Coffees.
*In the late 1990's, I worked on decorating Al Gore's official Vice-Presidential home for Ladies Home Journal while the Gores were in residence.
*My first Christmas magazine, HOLIDAY with Matthew Mead, debuted as a Country Home special issue in 2006.