Ashley Morrison's Blog

December 7, 2014

Trading Up

Was the name of the TV programme Louise Lear was presenting at the time – who is probably best know for her role as a BBC Weather presenter – so we where invited along to capture this renovated bungalow in Hertfordshire…
Louise and Ian Lear's 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. which Louise and her husband Ian, plus their two boys, James & Miles, called their home.

Looking back now at the series of shots taken – like this one of Marie in the kitchen…
Marie in the kitchen of Louise & Ian Lear's 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. who was sitting in while I tweaked the lighting for this shot…
Ian and Louise Lear in the kitchen of their 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. was in a way​, a bit like the programme – as each time I shot Marie…
Marie in the sitting room of Louise & Ian Lear's 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. I then traded her up…
Louise Lear in the sitting room of her 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. for the Real McCoy wink

Seriously though, couldn’t do it without her, as she is always like one step in front of me, which often puts a new meaning behind the term ‘behind the senses’ – as it’s her behind I often end up capturing…
Marie setting up the shot in the ​living room of BBC TV presenter Louise Lear's 1950's bungalow in Hertfordshire.
.. as she works her magic in front of the camera, to help create beautiful images like this…
Louise Lear with her two sons James & Miles in their 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. of Louise with her two sons, James & Miles, in the living room beside the kitchen.

The real star of the show as seen here again…
Marie in the sitting room of Louise & Ian Lear's 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. being traded up…
Louise Lear in the sitting room of her 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield with her two sons James & Miles.
.. for a series of images that have had more hits on our website than any other.

Was I thinking of Trading her Up, I hear you say… no way – but I did enjoy the TV show and so was delighted to meet Louise – a true professional in every way, especially as a young mother whose family were also a pleasure to meet.

Featured in the October issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 88 to 93 in the October 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Louise and Ian Lear's 1950's bungalow in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield.
.. back in 2006 and in Property Projects in the May 2007 issue…
Pages 6 and 7 in the Property Projects booklet which was in the May 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine and featured the kitchen in Louise and Ian Lear's 1950's bungalow in Hertfordshire.
.. which is hard to believe as it really doesn’t seem that long ago – but there you have it.

So for all of you who Google search her name and then end up on our website as a result, this Blog is for you, to help complete the story behind that picture of Louise smile

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December 5, 2014

English TV celebrity chef

While doing a bit of a tidy up in the studio this week with my daughter Holly, we came upon this cookery book called James Martin’s Great British Dinners – which was obviously by English TV celebrity chef James Martin himself – which as you can see here he had kindly signed…
Book called James Martin's Great British Dinners which has been signed by James Martin and made out to Chloe and Holly.
.. to both her and her sister Chloe.

Brought back great memories of this shoot which was commissioned by the BBC, for an editorial feature about James here…
English TV celebrity chef James Martin in the kitchen of his detached 19th-century house in Hampshire.
.. and his beautiful 19th-century house in Hampshire, which he had just recently bought and was planning to extend quite a bit.

So quickly showed Holly some of the images we produced, like this one of Rachel from the BBC, talked to James out in the Garden…
Rachel Watson from the BBC with English TV celebrity chef James Martin in the garden of his detached 19th-century house in Hampshire.
.. which as you might expect, was where he grew fresh organic produces – which is naturally high on any top chef’s agenda – while Marie worked her magic inside.

Some great Boy’s Toys, like racing helmets, guitars and vintage posters of sports cars throughout the house – but perhaps the most surprising thing was the kitchen which James himself described with a smile, as being a bit Barbie
English TV celebrity chef James Martin's kitchen in his detached 19th-century house in Hampshire.
.. which I think possibly came as a shock when he finally saw it painted!

Anyway, needless to say, the person shot had to be of James in this great kitchen…
English TV celebrity chef James Martin in the kitchen of his detached 19th-century house in Hampshire.
.. which I explained to Holly required more lights to light-up than one would have expected, due to its size and shape of the overall room.

And yes his dog who he called Fudge – who can you can see here sitting in his custom-built den…
Fudge in English TV celebrity chef James Martin's kitchen.
.. was very happy to get the steak used in that shot too Smile

Anyway, interesting home style wise according to Marie & Rachel – and quite ornate in places too – but it was his bedroom here…
The Master bedroom in English TV celebrity chef James Martin's detached 19th-century house in Hampshire.
.. that naturally got the girls smiling the most – as it was just as I’d expected – even though it was not quite what one might expect to see in their magazine – which it did all appear in as you can see here…
Pages 154 to 159 in the February 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring English TV celebrity chef James Martin's detached 19th-century house in Hampshire.
.. the follow year.

We’ve shot quite a few celebrities in their homes over the years – and as always, we find them great to work with – because they know how to work for the camera and how important it is to get the shots just right.

James was no exception here – he was relaxed, professional and… well just a really nice guy to work with !!

And this book he signed here afterward, to Holly & her sister was a reminder of all of that.

So from Marie, Rachel & me, plus my two girls, I’d just like to say a belated: Thank you, James, for everything… and especially for this beautiful book too.

July 17, 2014

A real life fairy tale.

A 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the French Tarn region…
John and Angela Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. which belonged to Angela & John Goodwin, was our home for a few days while we shoot in this area – and what a magnificent place it was too…
John & Angela Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. like something you’d normally only expect to see in a fairy tale book smile

THE STORY:

The couple went out to find and refurbish a wreck but ended up with a readymade home which one friend said was like something out of a fairytale. By immersing themselves in the French way of life they are now fully fledged Francophiles enjoying a home which is the epitome of rustic manor house living.

First impressions?
“Ironically, this isn’t the type of property we’d usually go for. Our previous two homes in France had been ‘projects’ and indeed so had our last home in Devon before we moved here permanently 16 years ago. We’ve always really enjoyed the challenge of doing up a property and putting our own stamp on it – but when we viewed the tower house all the major work had already been carried out. We just couldn’t resist the wow factor we know France well – we’d holidayed here for 20 years before John took the chance of early retirement and we moved out here – and we knew this particular area in the Tarn region very well as a previous property of ours had been on the south-west coastline. But once we discovered and fell in love with the quaint little medieval hill town of Cordes-sur-Ciel, we knew this was where our next move would take us.”

Their favorite room – and mine too – was the living room…
The living room in Angela & John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. with its double height, overlooked by a gallery – and centers around this huge fireplace…
The fireplace in the living room in Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. which they light in winter because it does actually get quite cold here it seems.

Talking about lighting, that was a challenge for sure, as capturing the atmosphere of this wonderful old place…
Four poster bed in the master  bedroom of Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. was for me, what it was all about.

This wonderfully romantic four poster bed is the centerpiece of the master bedroom, which was bought locally and the rest of the room is furnished with a range of antiques sourced in nearby Albi.

Marie, on the other hand, was more concerned about how the table setting looked…
Marie setting the table in the conservatory of Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. before Angela stood in…
Angela Goodwin in the conservatory of her 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. to showed her how it was done wink

Anyway, we stayed in what we referred to as ‘our wee cave’ – which was underneath and right beside the swimming pool…
John & Angela Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. which was just amazing – but this was the other option…
Guest bedroom in Angela & John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. which was in the tower section – with its own spiral staircase which leads to a glass-floored mezzanine level above.

Stunning or what ?

And this is why I love shooting homes abroad so much, as you not only get to see things like this – which you just wouldn’t see back in the UK or Ireland – but you also get to meet the truly amazing people behind all it too.

And Angela & John where definitely two of those amazing people – who even went to the trouble to set-up this final shot…
Angela & John Goodwin setting up outside their 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. to complete our story of how they had made their dream come true…
Angela & John Goodwin outside their 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur Ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. and what a dream that was too !!

Which just leaves me to say: Thank you from Marie & me to you both – as this one fairy tale we will never forget.

Featured in the October issue of BBC Good Homes magazine the following year…
Pages 118 to 123 of the October 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur Ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. and in Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine…
Pages 8 to 19 in the 13th issue of Property Life magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. titled ‘Living the dream’ the year after that – plus in Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine the year after that too…
Pages 46 to 54 in the June 2008 issue of Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. on pages 46 to 54.

All of which looked stunning and was lovely to see – as it is like seeing our fairy tale each year come true again as well smile

(Added Note: We are always on the lookout for such homes by the way – so should you happen to know of one and the homeowners are up for it, please do get in touch – as we’d sure love to feature their dream).

Anyway, that’s it from Marie & me in this real life fairy tale, set in the beautiful Tarn region of France – which we have returned to and plan to do again – but that’s another story for another time, which one day I’ll write about too wink

Cheers,
Ashley
www.ashleymorrison.com

July 14, 2014

In the Dragons’ Den.

At this French Riviera villa, which is set high in the hills overlooking Cannes
Duncan Bannatyne's French Riviera villa which overlooks the city of Cannes.
.. is where our next assignment was – which had been organised by Rachel from the BBC.

And yes it was none other than Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and television presenter, Duncan Bannatyne‘s family hideaway – who is most famous for his appearance as a business angel on the BBC programme Dragons’ Den.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day in the Côte D’Azur, as you can see – and so while Rachel, Duncan and his PR agent Robert Montague, headed off to the shops to pick-up a few bits & bobs – Marie & I when about setting up the first shoot – which was of the main living area.

And so on their return, the first image of the room had been created – which we then quickly showed them on the laptop screen…
Duncan Bannatyne with Rachel Watson, Robert Montague, and Marie McMillen, in his French Riviera villa which overlooks the city of Cannes..
.. before shooting Duncan standing again the large sliding doors…
Duncan Bannatyne in his French Riviera villa which overlooks the city of Cannes.
.. so as not to disturb the cushions of course – and looking very pleased with himself, as Rachel would say wink

So with the Dragon in his Den shot over, it was then over to the other side of the room to shoot the dining area…
Setting up the dining room shot in Duncan Bannatyne's French Riviera villa.
.. as well as a few detail shots, before stopping for a bite to eat…
Duncan Bannatyne with Rachel Watson, Robert Montague, and Marie McMillen the kitchen of his French Riviera villa.
.. shooting the kitchen and then outside to work on this area…
Duncan Bannatyne outside his French Riviera villa with Rachel Watson and Marie McMillen.
.. which as you can imagine, was one of Duncan’s favorite spots to sit…
Outside sitting area at Duncan Bannatyne's French villa overlooking Cannes.
.. and look out over Cannes – which is where I’d sit too, if I was a multi-millionaire wink

Why did you choose France?
‘When we first visited the South of France five years ago on a caravan holiday, we had a wonderful time. The following year we came back again and rented a villa in Cannes for a month. We really got to know the Côte D’Azur and I decided to buy a villa in the area, first and foremost as a place to unwind – but wearing my Dragons’ Den hat, I knew it would also be a good investment.’

Stunning…
Duncan Bannatyne by the pool at his French Riviera villa which overlooks the city of Cannes.
.. right up until the sun when down – which is when we all then posed for a group shot …
Rachel Watson, Marie McMillen, Robert Montague and myself, Ashley Morrison, with Duncan Bannatyne outside in the garden of his French Riviera villa which overlooks the city of Cannes.
.. outside in the barbecue area – which I had to light, as it was now late and almost dark – before enjoying a glass of wine and calling it a day.

Featured at the start of the follow year – titled Luxurious French Villa
Pages 86 to 92 of the January 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Duncan Bannatyne's French Riviera villa which over looks Cannes.

Duncan Bannatyne, from BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den, found the perfect retreat in the South of France.

.. on pages 86 to 92.

And a few years later on the cover of Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine too…
Pages 12 to 18 plus the cover of Issue 21 of Property Life magazine.
.. as well as inside on pages 12 to 18 – which I’ve got to say looked amazingly well.

By Marie & me – who for a day, dreamed that we were millionaires too smile

April 18, 2014

Christmas in the USA

The main reason for us being here, was due to us being asked by Rachel – the commissioning homes editor at the BBC – if we would be interested in going to America to produce and then provide her with some images of a home in New England, for her to use in their up & coming Christmas issue.

To which we had to think long & hard about… for all of 2 seconds, before saying YES Smile

So this was the next one on our list and the main reason for us being here… in August.
Not exactly Christmas time, nor did it feel like Christmas – but nevertheless, when we arrived at Jackie & David’s New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont, we knew Santa wasn’t far away, as one of his little helper was already there…
Young deer outside Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. out in their garden, keeping an eye on us all smile

Anyway, needless to say, a lot of work when into this one…
setting up the living room shot in Jackie & David's New England farmhouse near Stowe.
.. as we were shooting this totally out of season…
Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. and so, therefore, everything had to be set-up so as to make it look as Christmasy as possible…
Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. while the summer sun was shining brightly outside.

The storyline:

Jackie, originally from Manchester in the UK, who now works in tourism & marketing for New England, said: ‘When I first met David, we were both working in Boston but he is originally from Vermont and had always wanted to return there. We knew that Vermont would be very different and much quieter than Boston and decided to stay here for a six month trial period to see if it felt right. We stayed in the small town of Stowe which is quite near the Canadian border and at the end of the six months, I was totally sold. Vermont is famous for its beautiful scenery – particularly in the “fall” but I also loved the whole lifestyle aspect. The population in Vermont is surprisingly small; crime rate is low and everything is clean and well maintained. The summers are hot and sunny and wonderful for cycling, walking and kayaking whereas the winters are perfect for skiing and sledding. Even though Stowe is quite small, it has a really nice social scene with great restaurants, theatres and art galleries. We both agreed it would be a perfect place to settle down and raise a family.’

Now that’s what I call a ‘sales pitch’ – but it was also all true – as this really is a beautiful part of the world – and I could totally see why they moved here.

Anyway, it was very hot outside, so naturally we ask them all to dress in their warmest winter clothes…
Jackie Ennis & her son, Callum, the living room of in their New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and act the part…
Jackie Ennis & her son, Callum, in the kitchen of their New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. which both Callum (above) and Antonia as seen here in her bedroom…
Antonia in her bedroom.
.. clearly loved doing – and Antonia even suggested a few different poses of her own…
Antonia in the bathroom.
.. which I obviously had to shoot wink

When Marie asked Jackie to tell us about Christmas in Vermont for the feature, she said:
I’m probably a little biased but to me, this has to be one of the most picturesque places in the world to spend Christmas. We always have snow and everyone tends to decorate their homes in a very traditional way with real Christmas trees, wooden decorations and not too much tinsel.

Beautiful…
Master bedroom in Jackie Ennis & David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont.
.. and so was the amazing spread in the December issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 152 to 157 in the December 2005 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Jackie Ennis and David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. which they ran over 6 pages – as was the 7-page spread and cover of Templeton Robinson’s property life magazine…
The cover plus pages 14 to 20 in issue 20 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Jackie Ennis and David Rocchio's New England farmhouse near Stowe in Vermont at Christmas.
.. a few years later – which they titled, Christmas in the USA.

Over the moon to be back in America – and this was the main reason for our return – which one day soon I hope to do again.

So in the meantime, I’d just to say huge thanks to everyone involved here – especially to Jackie, David, Callum, and Antonia – for not only making us feel so welcome but for also making a dream come true for both of us.

From Marie & me @ ampimage.com, thank you.

April 15, 2014

Welcome back to America

After completing our assignment in Spain which I talked about last month – and came back with results that not only the BBC wanted to use but also several other publishing companies too – the next assignment we were offered was in America.

Wow – an opportunity of a lifetime and it would be the first time I would be back in the States since leaving college there back in the 80’s, where I swam for the University of Houston
University of Houston 1983 Bachelor of Fine Arts and swimming ring.
.. and first learned about photography while doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic communications.

Anyway, basically the assignment by the BBC was to shoot a home in Vermont for their up & coming Christmas issue – which was owned by Jackie Ennis, who was also in charge of promoting and marketing New England. So to make it worth our while – since the BBC was really only prepared to pay us for the use of our work, rather than to do the work for them – then we asked Jackie if she could possibly line us up a few more homes – which we would then shoot while we were there with all the gear, etc.

And so it was – Jackie lined up 6 other homes for us to shoot over the 10 day period we were planning on being in New England – the first of which was Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia’s detached beach house in the picturesque town of Mystic
Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. where the first shots were taken out at sea…
Rick Dean in Mystic
.. which was an amazing way to start our ‘Welcome back to America’ story smile

The storyline here was:

Maria Sylvia loved her idyllic beach house so much she turned it into a home to use all year round – and called it Seashell Cottage. Although its styling is undeniably New England, Maria has created an interesting home by drawing on her own artistic talents and using a number of themes.

Anyway, I had hired a local assistant called Bob O’Connor – who Calumet had highly recommended when I was hiring the lighting gear – and so while Marie talked to Rick & Maria outside…
Marie McMillen talking to Maria Sylvia & Rick Dean outside their beach house in Mystic.
.. which a took a few quick shots of…
Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia sitting outside their beach house in Mystic
.. Bob set up the lights while I started to set-up the camera for the first of the interior shots…
Setting up the living room shot in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. to capture Maria’s love of the Caribbean, which even extended to her multi-colored sofa…
The living room in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. which she sourced in a high street mall it seems.

The Fishy toilet, which Maria had pepped up with a funky tropical fish mural and accessories…
The fishy toilet in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. was amazing – and was naturally a major talking point – but even the bedrooms and especially this one which she called the Lighthouse…
The lighthouse bedroom in Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house in Mystic
.. which was as close to true New England style as it got for them – had Marie & me going Wow !!

Who wouldn’t want to be here…
Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia sitting outside their beach house in Mystic
.. and so that was the first of the homes we shot before heading to Cape Cod, to shoot Gene & Rosemary Fuller’s 1930’s cottage, which I’ll talk about later.

So we are back America – and being made to feel very welcome by everyone – loving it and wishing we could stay forever Smile

The BBC, by the way, featured Rick and Maria’s beach house in their July 2007 issue of Good Homes magazine…
Pages 168 to 175 in the July 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine
.. plus it was also featured in Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine…
Pages 12 to 18 in issue 23 of Templeton Robinson's Property life magazine featuring Rick Dean & Maria Sylvia's beach house called the Sea Shells in the New England town of Mystic
.. the following year.

So thank you America for welcoming us back, from Marie & me in Mystic.

January 25, 2014

It’s an opportunity.

Not a job – is what I would often say to other photographers.

Which is what I was thinking here, when I received a request from an Editor to say:

Would you be interested in shooting this villa in Spain…
Villa in Spain.
.. as we would like to run an editorial feature on it ?

Well I really didn’t need to see much more to say yes to this request – but they sent me these pictures of it anyway…
Villa in Spain.
.. to let us see what the interior looked like…
Villa in Spain.
.. which does help, especially when it comes to known what we need to bring…
Villa in Spain.
.. to not only light up the place…
Villa in Spain.
.. but possibly style it as well…
Villa in Spain.
.. as one is only as good as the weakest link…
Villa in Spain.
.. which is something I’d often say too Smile

Anyway, one month later we were in Javea…
Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. on the Costa Blanca in Spain – to basically take the same images…
TV area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. as they had sent us…
Living area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. from basically the same spot…
Sitting area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. which I enjoy looking at afterwards…
Dining area in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. as it clearly shows what it is we do…
Bedroom in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. and why it may take us a full day to create images like this…
Bedroom in Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. rather than just a few minutes.

It’s an opportunity to show what we can do.
It’s an opportunity to produce some images that others may want to use.
It’s an opportunity to good to say no to.

Plus in this case, it was also an opportunity for us to shoot a few more homes while we were there, which I talk about here: One of the greatest discoveries a man makes and here: What prompted you to do what you do?

So you can’t really call that ‘a Job’ now can you Smile

From Marie & me @ ampimage in the Costa Blanca – living the dream Smile

Featured in the March 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine…
Pages 116 to 122 in the March 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Susan & Brian McHardy's villa located near Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. on pages 116 to 122 – plus in issue 14 of Templeton Robinson’s Property Life magazine…
Page 10 to 20 in issue 14 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Susan and Brian McHardy's villa located in Javea on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
.. on pages 116 to 122, in the summer of 2007.

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