Ashley Morrison's Blog

July 16, 2014

A former goat shelter.

After crossing the Irish Sea – on route to meet Rachel from the BBC, to shoot Duncan’s French Riviera villa in the hills overlooking Cannes, which I talked here: In the Dragons’ Den – we stopped to meet landscape designer Bradley Viljoen, and shoot his four-bedroom hillside villa…
Marie McMillen sitting outside Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. formerly an agricultural goat shelter building, built in the mid 19th-century, near the French village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn region of France.

As a garden and landscape designer based in London England, Bradley Viljoen spends his time creating other people’s dreams. A few years ago, along with partner Mark Smith, they decided it was time to do something for them – they decided to live the dream across The Channel in France.

“The idea was to create a beautiful home and garden to enjoy whenever we could, with the hope of living there permanently one day,” says Bradley. “We would rent it out for a few weeks a year to generate a bit of income so we could continue to improve the property and to create a garden.”

No work in her…
Marie McMillen in the sitting of Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. but nevertheless, when a home looks this good…
The sitting of Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. who could blame Marie for just wanting to sit down and enjoy it – as Bradley & Mark had done a fabulous job here.

“We’d spent quite some time checking out various regions, firstly via the online agencies and then by visiting various regions. We didn’t really know much about the Tarn until we actually visited it back in the summer of 2001. But once we came here we just fell in love with it,” says Bradley. “Southcentral France has a wonderfully diverse landscape of rolling plains to gentle mountains, it’s crisscrossed by rivers and lakes and enjoys a rich heritage of ancient villages, castles, churches, and gastronomy. We just felt it was the ideal spot for us among the rolling vineyards and unspoiled natural environment.”

Still, a bit of work was needed to light the place and get everything tickety-boo for the camera – but Bradley here…
Bradley Viljoen in the kitchen of his hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. was more than ready and as you can see, had the whole place, including the bedrooms…
Master bedroom in Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. sitting up looking pretty much picture perfect.

“We wanted to achieve something that would embrace the best of living at home with the best of living out here and I’m pleased with how it’s all come together – our little bit of entente cordiale.”

So we actually managed to rattle through this one quite quickly, but the wonderful memories have lived on much longer – as we managed to get this featured in Britain’s No.1 Home Magazine, Ideal Home
Pages 84 to 88 in the July 2006 issue of Ideal Home magazine featuring Bradley Viljoen and Mark Smith's mid 19th-century hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. which appeared the following summer in their July issue – and also in Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine too, the year after that…
Pages 38 to 46 in issue 10 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Bradley Viljoen and Mark Smith's mid 19th-century hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. which I’ve got to say looked absolutely stunning.

A former goat shelter it may have been, but definitely not any longer – and so we’d just like to say a big thank you to both Bradley & Mark, for this very special day which we will always remember.

From Marie & me in the Tarn region, having fun on route to the French Riviera, to meet Rachel from the BBC for the very first time & the famous Duncan Bannatyne too smile

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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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