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.

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 planing 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 it’s size and shape of the over all 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 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 afterwards, 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 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 shoots, 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 favourite spots to sit…
Outside sitting area at Duncan Bannatyne's french villa over looking 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

Blog at WordPress.com.