_('Yarn')
Journal

Nat Turnbull – Insights to a photoshoot

Earlier this year, acclaimed Australian stylist Nat Turnbull was engaged to deliver a visually engaging photo shoot for a collaboration between furniture makers Stylecraft and award-winning furniture designer, Elliat Rich

The collaboration of the two designers comprises a credenza, floor light and rug, with a common line, form, and movement delivering a beautiful continuity. The collection, named ‘Different Thoughts’ explores the idea of what connects one person to another, and translates this concept into three dimensional forms.

Nat Turnbull interprets this philosophical approach in a visually engaging way and looked to Mokum to round out her creative vision for the shoot.  A flowing soft drapery solution saw Mokum Ombre Blush as the ideal solution to amplify the mood, palette and forms present within the work.

We thought it would be particularly interesting to put the microscope on the styling aspect of the beautiful images Nat produced, as styling is such a unique skillset, rich in capacity for storytelling that exercises a special skillset. As such, we reconnected with Nat to understand a little more about her process and what it lends to these types of collaborations.  

JDT

How do you come up with an idea for a shoot?  Is the inspiration found in the pieces themselves, or do you have a planned concept?

NT

I always use the work as a starting point for a concept, and Elliat Rich’s range was full of ideas and conceptual nuances. After meeting with the team at Stylecraft, who had worked so closely with her on the range, I learnt that the collection had a lot to do with movement and shape intersection. There was also a strong focus on colour as you can see in her incredible Different Thoughts Credenza.

Taking on these concepts visually, I proposed we stage the pieces on a circular plinth (our play with shape), in a world of their own rather than a literal looking space or room, with the soft but dynamic movement of the curtain surrounding them. What I think is so successful about the images, is that there’s such dynamism but also a beautiful sense of quiet, which allows these incredible works to stand for themselves.

JDT

How much of that process is a collaboration between the client brief and what the lens or framing dictate?

NT

The whole process is a collaboration with many stages, which from my side is about conceptualising the idea and presenting this to the client with an approach on how we can visually realise this concept. They give feedback and we adapt. From there, we discuss the details of the shoot including the colours of the set, the elements incorporated within it (such as the beautiful Mokum Ombre curtain) and we action getting these things prepared. 

Then comes the fun part and where the magic happens; the shoot day. With all of these ideas, elements, and the team (myself, amazing photographer Haydn Cattach and talented assistant Adrian Grasso) we set the shots and frame them with Haydn's beautiful lighting expertise. From here the team works collaboratively to make sure everyone is happy and when they are, we have the shot.

JDT

You work across a broad range of products.  What skills cross over from, say, styling a fashion piece to a product shoot such as this?

NT

For me, each project has a similar approach in that I use the piece, whether it be a handbag, a tile or a piece of furniture as the starting point to bring the shoot to life. While there are similarities in the approach, each project is really different and has a new challenge like sourcing something I haven’t before, learning how to space the tiles perfectly or how to make the handle on the bag just right. I love the ever changing nature of my job and I don’t shy away from a challenge.

JDT

Your work has an emotional quality and curated still life appeal? They would make beautiful prints!

NT

Haha that’s so nice, thank you. I do always try to create images that have an emotional quality but I must say that the emotive nature of an image is really in the hands of the photographer and has a lot to do with lighting and composition.

JDT

Were you wanting to achieve a certain aesthetic for this shoot? How did you layer each element?

NT

I guess we did have an overall aesthetic we were going for; surreal yet real (ha!), dreamy and strong. The actual layering of the objects and placement comes with trial and error by placing things in the frame, the photo crew taking an image and moving the items until they look right. 

JDT

The drapery element was something you were really keen to include, what do you think it added to the end result?

NT

The drapery and the beautiful subtle ombre of the curtain added so much to the shoot. It allowed us to create this dreamy moment in time, like something special had been revealed to us only for a moment as the curtains opened. I felt as though the weight of this fabric and the ombre design were really imperative in creating this look. Anything more solid I think would not have achieved the same effect.

JDT

In terms of your own home, have you brought any of your curator’s eye into styling your own space? I imagine lots of beautifully composed vignettes!

NT

Oh gosh, I have collected some great pieces over the years for my home. Working with beautiful objects in my day to day life makes me need beautiful objects at home. I love the classic Italian designers and have a B&B Italia sofa which I purchased second hand and had recovered. I love the female designer Eileen Gray, she is just exceptional and I have her tube light from Anibou. I also love pairing these classic pieces with the works of very talented designers in Australia. So, the collection continues and it’s a very dangerous habit for my wallet, but I do love it.

Credits:
Stylecraft
Elliat Rich
Nat Turnbull
Haydn Cattach

See more here: www.habitusliving.com

Blush

Related

Homegrown | Interview with Iva Foschia

People & Places

Iva Foschia, Founder and principal of IF Architecture, Melbourne chats with us about her practice and design style.