Ashley Morrison's Blog

February 27, 2017

Taking a gamble to live the dream.

As one commission lead to us shooting 9 homes which resulted in 12 magazine features – and the best part (besides the amount of money that we ended up earning), was we had the time of our lives – which is what I would call “Living the dream” smile.

Which 10 years ago, is what we would have regularly done – and so day I’m going to talk about the one that we were actually commissioned to shoot, by Rachel from the BBC Worldwide – who was the Houses & Property Editor at that time for a magazine called Good Homes.

The commission by the way, like most of the commissions that I would receive from magazines (as well as from other types of clients too), was simply what I would call a Purchase Order – as it just informed me that they would agree to pay me X amount afterwards, for the Rights to use my images – but ONLY IF after having seen the final results, they did still actually want to use them (so be sure to read the small print too) wink.

So no, this wasn’t a “Work Made For Hire” type of agreement – which is where the client would agree to pay me for my time & expenses, irrespective of the results – this commissioning document that the BBC had sent to me beforehand, was just to let me know how much they would be prepared to me afterwards, for the Rights to use my work – should the Editor (after having seen the final results) want to use my images for a one time only editorial feature in one of their magazines.

Which like I said before, is pretty much the standard deal with most magazines – as they only want to pay for the use of the work, rather than pay me to do the work for them.

And so when I would have agreed to take on these type of assignments, especially the ones which would have involve a lot of travelling – I would have looked upon the original commission as being like ‘My ticket to travel’, to see what I could produce in that part of the world – not only for the commissioning client to use, but also for others to use as well.

A gamble – yes – but it was one that usually paid off – like it did in this case, as I managed to turn the original commissioning amount, into around £14000 worth of sales over the next few years. So with that sort of money to play with, naturally we had a lot of fun – as we tried to make the most of these opportunities that I had been presented with.

And what an opportunity it was, because if there is one name that will help open doors in almost any country in the world, it’s the BBC.
Which is another story for another time wink.

Anyway, like I said before, the original commission here was for me to provide the BBC with some images of Helen and Peter Hannick’s 18th century Italian farmhouse here…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. for them to use in their magazine called Good Homes.

Lying between the Tiber and Nera rivers, Poggio le Stalle is a 250 year old estate, not far from the town of Amelia here…
The Italian town of Amelia near Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse.
.. in the Umbria region of central Italy.

Inside was quite dark…
Behind the scenes at Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. so I was glad we had driven over with all the lighting gear – as this was one that I actually needed to punch quite a bit of light into – which I did while Marie & Rachel worked on what was in front of the camera – before it was time to photograph Helen here…
Helen Hannick in the living room of her Italian farmhouse near Amelia.
.. looking like she was “rather pleased with herself”, as Rachel would often say wink.

So while the girls turned the place upside down…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before putting it all back together again…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. I worked away on the lighting – and this was the final result…
The dining area in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before moving into the kitchen…
One of the first pictures taken in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. after some serious tidying up from the night before – as Rachel had flown over with some of her friends, who were also enjoying Helen and Peter’s hospitality here, as well as some of the product from the local vineyards wink.

So no shortage of bottles – especially empty ones – which obviously were removed along with the dishwasher…
The kitchen in Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. before doing the return shot…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. and then it was time to go up the stairs…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. to shoot some of the bedrooms and bathroom.

After that, we headed outside…
Behind the scenes at Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. to shoot Helen once again…
Helen and Peter Hannick's 18th century Italian farmhouse near Amelia in Umbria.
.. this time with Michael, who helped her maintain the place – and who also over the next few days, not only show us around but also introducing us to the locals too…
Marie & Michael talking to the local polizia in the Italian Umbria region town of Amelia.
.. as he informed them all that The BBC was in town smile.

Anyway, that was the commission – and this was the result…
Pages 140 to 149 in the March 2007 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine.
.. which meant I did get paid in the end – for having taken a gamble to live the dream smile.

So a big thanks to Rachel from the BBC for this, as well as to Helen and Peter for inviting us in – and should you ever be in Italy looking for a place to stay, then Poggio le Stalle may be the prefect spot for you to live the dream too smile.

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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 a 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.

December 10, 2012

Closing Down…

Filed under: Web links — Ashley Morrison @ 9:38 am
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.. and 25 plus years on, I see my images are still on display…
Screen shot.
.. in this recent BBC programme called Closing Down.
Screen shot.

“John and Heather are a soon-to-be-retired couple whose world for the last 28 years has been a shoe business. Now they are pulling down the shutters on their business.”

As Candy talks about the photo shoots – this being the first one…
Screen shot-20121209
.. which I believe was shot back in 1986, a year or so after I started – for their full page ad in the Ulster Tatler magazine or it may have even been used on the cover.

Anyway, when Heather said “They were my ideas really”
Screen shot-20121209
.. I had to smile – as I remember I would have spent most of the day setting up these sets before they arrived in the late evening. But nevertheless, it was amazing to see these images again after all these years – and to see Candy, John & Heather again – all looking so well.

Closing Down
Broadcast on BBC Two, 6:30PM Sat, 8 Dec 2012.
Available on iPlayer until 6:44PM Sat, 15 Dec 2012.
Duration: 15 minutes.

April 6, 2010

You couldn’t make it up.

UK Digital Economy Bill Turns To Ashes.

You think you own your your own photographs? Think again.

As it says: “You couldn’t make it up.”

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