Friday, 22 June 2018

Behind the Label

Interiors Photographer & Stylist - Fiona Walker-Arnott

How did you start out in becoming an a interiors photographer and stylist?
I’d worked myself into the ground in London and needed a change. I’d been a valuer at London's leading estate agent which fed part of my soul with a love of architecture, homes and interiors but left a huge gap creatively. I moved to Brighton and gave myself time to get back into Photography and realised quickly that’s what I should really be doing. I am completely self taught. The styling part came along organically, whilst on shoots plus I have renovated a number of my own homes so it is an innate interest. I have my mum to thank for that, she has aways created lovely homes so I think I was learning from her subconsciously from a young age. My step father is a great diy man so I was unable to grow up without knowing how to use a drill, paint, repair things and basically have a go. I still love all of that now.
When I'm not shooting editorial I am working for Architects and designers shooting their spaces and projects, I am really lucky to work with lots of very talented people.

What does your job as photographer/stylist acutally involve?
The first step is finding homes and projects that are suitable to shoot, gathering the right team to work with- writer, stylist and assistant on the larger jobs. I don’t always style as well as shoot it can be too much, so I work with experienced shoot stylists too. If I’m styling I then need a day of Propping, gathering any pieces required plus flowers etc. Shoots are generally a full day and can be anywhere in the UK, occasionally abroad. It’s an day of full concentration, details cannot be missed and everything has to be just so. There are times when I can drive myself and or my colleagues to distraction for the perfect shot. Beds by the way are a total nightmare…styling wise they’re a killer to perfect! Everyone I work with is very experienced so we know the briefs that we have to fulfil which saves a lot of time. I shoot to my iPad so we are all checking various details before each shot is finally signed off. We are all beat at the end of a shoot as breaks just don’t happen, we eat standing up if at all! Editing takes about the same amount of time as the shoot and it’s my least favourite part but has to be done. After the edit I Pitch to the appropriate editors. Once the feature is placed and commissioned the writer carries out the interview and everything is uploaded to the editorial team for publishing.

From a recent shoot, a converted grain store, great inspiration here.

I love the details and simple shots best, here is one of my favourites

What’s the best part of your job?
A few things really. Meeting new people and hearing their stories, each home is different and so capturing it and making it looks it’s very best is lovely plus I get stacks of inspiration along the way.
It’s like pinterest but live!

How would you describe your own style?
Modern Rustic, that rough luxe look. Naturals and neutrals. I like home to be where I don't need to worry about where I put my coffee cup down and can curl up with my feet up on the sofa whilst still having the luxuries of a huge bath and a beautiful bed.  I have pared down my possessions hugely in the past few years and believe in quality not quantity which is hard when I am surrounded by a
constant flow of inspiration during my work.

What was your first big break?
I shot a fabulous regency home in Brighton for Real Homes Magazine, it was their Christmas edition. They wanted it for the cover. This was massively into the deep end. I worked on nervous energy that day, it was a huge learning curve. The sub editor was there too I found that unnerving but she was lovely and put me at ease.  The writer/stylist had her work cut out for her though, Christmas shoots are tough going in a day. We’ve worked together extensively since so all went well.

When not working what do you do to relax?
I’m generally planning a project. for myself or a client. So both Pinterest and instagram I use a lot and love them. I do a bit of interior design too so when I can, I take on a project. I’m planning my own project in Italy at the moment. I paddle board and travel as much as possible. I converted a little van into a camper and head off generally in the direction of beaches in the UK or abroad for some serious down time, often wild camping. This is where I have time to plan and come up with new ideas.

What’s next for Fiona Walker - Arnott Photographer and Stylist?
Alongside my existing work I am trying to find time to set up an online store called, Zingara Trovato.  I’ve been inspired by recent travels to Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Portugal, Morocco, France, Spain and Italy. I will be sourcing beautiful Ceramics, Wooden Platters, Bowls, Linens, Art, Cushions, Rugs and later Women’s wear, I hope. I am actively looking for stock so I’d love to hear  from anyone who has work to sell that fits. Have a peak at the instagram feed to get a feel for the Zingara Trovato look.

All images and designs remain copyright of Fiona Walker-Arnott. Fiona retains sole Editorial rights of all photographs and features