At The Studio

by Matt on August 5, 2008

Ok, there have been a few of you (and you know who you are!) who have ever-so-gently nudged me via direct and instant messages (god I love the interwebs) and asked to see some snapshots of my new studio. Well, I've reluctantly held off because 1) it's not all pretty pretty yet and 2) I haven't figured out how to get the working girls and clever local entrepreneurs to shoo away from my front door long enough to take pictures. And then I remembered how that within a week of signing my lease I was working in my new space, taking pictures and really making it a real working studio. Because of this it's never going to be a showplace and I'm fine with that. Finally.

Perhaps one day there will be parking for clients and a super fancy lounge with a German assistant who makes lattes for everyone with my $4k espresso machine and fancy catering to eat and the required pool table for the clients and a WII and personalized matchbooks but damnit, in the meantime they're getting me and my empty studio. And I really really hope it's ok. I really need to work on being a much flashier photographer, I think.

Anyway, here's a little tour.


There's a skylight on the second floor of my studio that shines down onto the first floor. The quality of light is unreal and depending on the time of day it can be anywhere from gold to blue. It ends up in solid bands of light and reminds me of being in a church. So of course I grabbed an antique tablecloth and assorted plates and dishes because that's what you do, right?


On the left side are plates, bowls and platters from the white section of my prop shelf. There are some thrift store pieces, some new items, some antiques, some Mud Australia (my fave!) and some I can't even remember where they came from. And that totally helps me when I break something because let's face it, I break stuff. It's what I do.

On the right is me. I put up a big painting tarp I found on the side of the road because I knew it would come in handy but I actually fell in love with the oversprayed stencil it created. Plus it was the only thing tall enough to fill a big wall. In the corner is a Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, one of my mostest favoritist plants EVER!! And a Bertoia chair.


On the left are more prop shelves. We organize by color and it seems to work. I previously had everything grouped by category but it just didn't seem the best way to do things for my brain. I also try to rotate my props out on a regular basis so that stuff doesn't always look the same. I'll also hang on to something because I know one day it will be the perfect prop. On the right are old forks and spoons in cool old wooden boxes. They haven't been cleaned and organized along with the other utensils. Just give me more coffee and watch out.


I can't take credit for all this great old baking stuff — this is all Adam's doing. He's been spending quite a bit of time in the midwest on a job, going back and forth and hitting all the quaint antique shops in Wisconsin. It's such a nice contrast to all the modern pieces we seem to have floating around the studio. I'm sure there are great stories about what was baked in these things. Now why can't he bring me back cheese curds? Huh?

Spot the dork

Here's a quick view facing the kitchen. Like I said I still have quite a bit to go before it looks the way I want. I haven't even tackled the upstairs space yet, it's just storage. You get extra points if you spot the dork in the mask.


Folks, this is a terrible image. Not just because my studio is a mess but it's way overexposed. But whatevs, it's just to show my workspace. Shooting with natural light here is not a problem, in fact it can be too much at times. And the big thing blocking the garage door is a scrim to diffuse the light just a bit.

Everything is on casters, including my work table, my storage drawers, even a big platform where I set up my tables. It's so much easier for repositioning as the light changes throughout the day. Armando, thank you!


Here are two things I cannot live without now: My Rowenta Pressure Iron & Steamer and big giant pieces of foamcore.

So this iron, um, man. You probably didn't know I really enjoy ironing and it totally relaxes me. But now I'm downright giddy with this machine that shoots out a constant, generous amount of steam all by pressing a lever on the handle. I'm currently obsessed with this and am now ironing for ironing's sake. I'm just wrong.

And the foamcore, aka v-flats, v cards, whatever you want to call them, they're essential. It's basically two 4' by 8' pieces taped together and can be used to fill in light or even block light when needed. I never had the space large enough to use them before but now I've quite the collection. Even in black for those moments when you really want to block or subtract light. And my absolute favorite thing: Open and arrange all 8 v flats into a small room and walk inside and out over and over again until someone asks me what the hell I'm doing. Hi! I'm 4 years old.

So that concludes this very brief behind the scenes. Next time we'll go upstairs, take a look at my glass and cup cabinets and maybe I'll introduce you to Edgar, Niko, Steve and Dan, my neighbors from around the way who just happen to celebrate Happy Hour at 8am every single day! What a coincidence! Oh, and here's a flower shot from today since I had to actually do something productive.