Ashley Morrison's Blog

April 20, 2014

Looking for New England.

From the picturesque town of Stowe, with it’s traditional looking hardware stores…
Hardware store in the Vermont town of Stowe.
.. and churches,…
Church in the Vermont town of Stowe.
.. the following day we headed out with Jackie to this place…
Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. which is called ‘Hidden Valley Farm’ – to meet Barbara and her husband Mark Leswing.

A elegantly understated, though no less grand, four bedroom home set in 35 acres of beautiful New England countryside in Vermont. After years of living between the frenetic cities of New York and Tokyo, Mark and Barbara found the tranquillity and privacy of this site simply irresistible.

And yes inside it was pretty amazing too…
the Grand Room in Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. as you can see from these images of the Grand Room – with it’s double height beams and rafters…
the Grand Room in Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. where the walls reflected the New England sunshine – so was therefore actually very easy to light, with a minimum amount of fill required.

So we actually managed to shoot loads throughout this beautiful house…
Hallway in Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. as the light was as stunning as the place itself.

So while Barbara worked on the flowers in the kitchen…
Barbara Leswing in the kitchen of Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. I just snapped away – and even the bedrooms…
Master bedroom in Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. and Tea for Two bathroom…
Tea for Two bathroom in Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. where wonderfully lit too – as they had decided against putting-up any curtains.

Why no curtains?

Well, it was mainly due to this…
View from Barbara & Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
.. so is it any wonder they decided against curtains – as it was breathtaking right through to the end of the day – which is when I shot this, as we all sat out in their garden, enjoying a lovely cold beer… or was it two Smile

The title by the way, ‘Looking for New England’ – which both House and Home…
Pages 66 to 72 in the May 2006 issue of House and Home magazine featuring Barbara and Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and Property Life magazine…
The cover plus pages 14 to 24 in issue 11 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Barbara and Mark Leswing's Hidden Valley Farm in Vermont.
used, is based on the lyrics from the song titled ‘A New England’ – a song written and recorded by Billy Bragg and included on his album Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy, released in 1983 – which became a hit single when covered by Kirsty MacColl the next year – which are…

I don’t want to change the world
I’m not looking for a new England
I’m just (Are you) looking for another girl

.. but I think if they saw this place, they would both change their minds Smile

Anyway, I’d just to say huge thanks to everyone involved here and especially to Barbara & Mark – for not only making us feel so welcome but for also making a dream come true for us.

From Marie & me @ ampimage, thank you.



  1. Great work Ashley, interesting to note that while it was shot a few years ago, the images still look ‘up to date’ today. With what I’d call a ‘low key’ shooting style like yours, I imagine that this means that images have a longer shelf life.

    Here’s a question, in your self assigned shoots, do you ever shoot a home that fails to sell and make publication? I always think that it can be hard to figure out what publishers are looking for these days and it can make you second guess your own decisions sometimes.

    Comment by neillwatson — April 21, 2014 @ 8:21 am | Reply

    • Yes, producing images that others will either want to use a lot in various media or use for a very long time – or better still both – is often our goal.
      So we try to create ‘timeless looking’ images whenever possible – as we find those tend to be of more value to others – which in turn would usually mean we could command a higher fee for the use of our work… be it right away or over a period of time.

      Anyway, to answer you question, in a word ‘Yes’.
      Back when these were shot, our hit rate for getting our work published would have been around 98% – so we were pretty confident in getting results here.

      However, having said that, we didn’t always get the results we hoped for – and so sometimes we had to settle for letting lesser well paying publications use our work, than we would have liked.
      Which was the case with this one – as it was only two local magazines here in Ireland that wanted to run with it – which I must say they both did beautifully – but nevertheless, from our point of view, that wasn’t really a great result for such an amazing home.

      Still, one needs to look at the bigger picture when doing this type of work – and so besides having the time of our life and enjoying a trip of a lifetime – having come back with 7 features instead of just the 1 – we managed to make about 12K in total.
      Which wasn’t bad for 10 days work – but obviously by the time one takes out expenses and divides it up between all those involved – then you can see that none of us really made a lot of money here.

      Still, ‘beats working for a living’ as they say – and in my opinion, there is no better way to get your work out there and in front of those who do require images which they will want to use a lot – and therefore pay good money for – than getting your work published in the magazines that they advertise in and/or read and buy on a regular basis.

      So I look upon this type of work as being an Opportunity, rather than a Job – and so that’s basically what I’m writing about here – as we tried to make the most of this Opportunity of a lifetime – which was the beginning of a whole new way forward for us.

      Comment by Ashley Morrison — April 21, 2014 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  2. Beautiful photos, Ashley. I can’t help but remember two of my favorite quotes from Gone With The Wind, “Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” and, “It will come to you, this love of the land. There’s no gettin’ away from it if you’re Irish.”

    Comment by Amy Dolego — April 20, 2014 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

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