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.

June 29, 2014

Living la Dolce Vita.

One of the things both Marie & I love most about the work that we do, is meeting people – who in many cases turn out to be truly amazing.

And Michael, as seen here with Marie talking to the local Polizia…
Marie and Michael talking to the local polizia in the Italian Umbria region town of Amelia.
.. was one of those people who neither of us will ever forget.

Because not only did he show us around the Italian Umbria town of Amelia, and even got me into their Archaeological Museum to shoot things like the Statue of Germanico here…
The Statue of Germanico in the Archaeological Museum of Amelia in the Umbria region of Italy.
.. but he also introduced us to Tia Weissman here…
Tia Weissman in the garden of her Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. who along with her husband Bruce, owned this fabulous old villa which she called ‘Casa Lara’…
Tia Weissman and Michael outside her Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. which was located just outside the town of Amelia – which one could see on the hill in the distance from her also amazing garden…
Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. which Michael helped her look after, etc.

Well needless to say, we asked Tia could we shoot her place – so she kindly showed us around and I took some quick snaps…
Recce shot of Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. just to give us a idea for what we may need to do…
Recce shot of Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. in both terms of lighting and styling…
Recce shot of Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
… plus as some of the rooms where not really being used, like this guest bedroom…
Recce shot of Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. or had just been used, like her own bedroom…
Recce shot of Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. which clearly she hadn't got round to tidying yet, as she wasn't expecting us – then all of this was good to see beforehand.

Still, we had seen enough to say 'yes' this will look amazing – and so it did…
Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. after we all did our thing…
Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. which included lighting the fires…
Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. and making up the beds..
Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. which really did say this wasn't Ireland…
Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa called 'Casa Lara' which is located near the town of Amelia in Umbria.
.. but instead was someone living the dream in Italy.

Yes it was a lot of hard work; however, eight years on and the memories of all that work is long gone.

The memories however of this amazing villa, meeting Michael and Tia, plus the images we produced live on – and so I'm delighted to report that they will be appearing once again, in next months Ireland's Homes Interiors & Living magazine – which should be on the bookshelves next week smile

When 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featured it some years ago, as seen here…
Page 20 to 25 in the September 2006 issue of 25 Beautiful Homes magazine featuring Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa Casa Lara located near Amelia in Umbria.
.. they titled it "Living la Dolce Vita" and so did Property Life magazine too…
Pages 8 to 19 in issue 12 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Tia and Bruce Weissman's Italian villa Casa Lara located near Amelia in Umbria.
.. meaning living the good life – which is sure was for both Marie & me.

So just ahead of it appearing on the bookshelves next week, I'd just like to say a big thank you to both Michael and Tia here, for making our trip to Italy a truly memorable one – as this for us is one we will never forget.
Thank you.

From Marie & me living la Dolce Vita smile

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