Erika Wall is a long term favourite model of ours, latterly a mother and generally extremely good company. We asked if she and her husband Patrick, a graphic designer, would like to come along with their daughter Frances, choose some of our clothes to wear to their own taste and photograph each other in any way they wished. As you will have gathered from the title of the shoot and from the interview below, they framed the photography around the building of a wardrobe for Frances.
What was the concept behind the shoot?
Erika: Our inspiration was family, and what we like to do together. At the moment this is making furniture as we have just moved into a new house. So far we have built Frances a bed and a chair. For the shoot we decided to build her a small wardrobe in which we could hang the clothes worn during the shoot.
Patrick: The wardrobe we made is from a brilliant book Autoprogettazione by Enzo Mari. In a simple, easy way it teaches you how to build your own furniture. The book is in Italian but there is no text, just pictures. It isn't intimidating in any way. All the measurements are provided, so all you need to do is go to a wood yard, have the timber prepared, and then assemble it yourself. It is a lovely thing to do to make a piece of furniture yourself.
Have you always enjoyed making things?
Erika: Ever since I was little I have made stuff. My parents encouraged me to make my own toys. They bought me paints, fabrics and a sewing machine. Later I assisted a set designer, Shona Heath, for five years, so I learnt many skills then. With Frances we have started to experiment even more with what we can make and build. Last weekend we made her a William Morris blind which you can see in the shoot. We live near the William Morris Gallery and thought we needed something of his in our house!
There are plants and references to nature in your photo shoot is this deliberate?
Erika: Now that we have moved to a new house we finally have a garden quite a large, rambling garden covered in brambles and so gardening has become a big part of our lives. We have spent a lot of time ripping out tangled clumps of ivy and cutting down trees. Hidden amongst it all we found a plum tree. With the garden a little clearer though still quite messy we have started to plant herbs. We have always been foragers and like to grow food we can eat. Though you can't eat the plants in the shoot they show our interest in nature. Our inspiration for decorating the wardrobe in botanical drawings was Josef Frank.
Why did you choose to shoot on film rather than digital?
Erika: I just think it looks better and it is much more fun. With digital you don't have to worry about the costs, so you just keep shooting, ending up with so much material which you then have to spend a long time editing on the computer.
How did you choose what to wear?
Erika: I like to wear clothes that are practical, but elegant. I loved wearing the white dungarees in the shoot because they are the first pair that actually suits me! I have some old photos of my mum in similar white dungarees I was always annoyed that she didn't keep them for me. But now I have a pair!
Shop the shoot here