Marnie Hawson on Photographing Sustainable Architecture at Brave New Eco’s Enduring House

Marnie Hawson on Photographing Sustainable Architecture at Brave New Eco’s Enduring House

Project of the Week

I love everything about Marnie Hawson – her work, her goals, her inclusion of dogs in a shot whenever possible.

Marnie is just the coolest. She is a one-woman certified B Corp photographing exclusively sustainable architecture. For those of her who are familiar with her frequently published, outrageously beautiful work, you are no stranger to what you’ll see in this edition of Project of the Week. To those of you who don’t know Marnie yet, I’m so excited to share her brilliant photographs with you.

Marnie kicks things off by sharing a little bit about this project named Enduring House: “My clients for this project were both new ones for me, but great sustainable businesses – Brave New Eco and Pledge Builders. Megan of Brave New Eco is an interior designer, permaculture designer, and sustainable design consultant. Her business uses best case technologies and techniques to improve a building’s energy performance. Jai and Chris of Pledge are certified Passive House Tradespeople and are working towards creating more resilient, more energy efficient homes, with a lighter footprint, healthier living, and better performance. It was a cost-sharing shoot, and I was excited to work with these calibre of clients as I only shoot sustainable architecture now.”

“The shoot was pretty standard for me – about 7-8 hours shooting, and I generally work backward from sunset,” Marnie tells. “I had the bonus of having my favourite stylist and good friend Belle Hemming also engaged for the shoot, so we had three stylists/designers/assistants preparing the spaces for shooting – a rare luxury! The weather was a bit gloomy, so when the occasional light beam showed its face, I jumped into action.

There were a lot of great features out on the back deck that really needed some great light, but we were battling with the Melbourne weather, which is known for ‘four seasons in one day’. I got some shots from the top of a crumbling playhouse in the back garden, the structural integrity was a bit sketchy, but it got me some great height. It was good for my new clients to see the shots as they happened on my iPad – I switched from tethering with a cable to my laptop a year or so ago, to a Camranger2 and iPad mini, and would never go back!”

I asked Marnie about her favorite photos from the shoot and she shared “I always love a shot with a dog in it – I’m a massive dog person, and often spend more time on a job making friends with the resident canine than working. So when this adorable pooch was kicked out of the house while everyone got it ready, I took the opportunity to get him in some pics on the back deck, showing the architecture as well as him.”

I totally agree. Any shot with a dog in it just adds 100 points to the coolness value.

Inside, we are greeted by a gorgeous vertical one-point perspective that drives our eyes straight down the hallway. We are able to note the ornate trim pick up on how deep this house is. Our friend the dog makes his appearance again, giving scale and life to the scene.

I particularly love Marnie’s use of soft light and laid-back styling that portrays this home as a mix of artwork and a non-fussy, happy place to live. She shows off the space beautifully, paying special attention to tying the living area with the outdoors, and helping us note how each space flows in to one another.

Her images contain a great deal of mood while showing off the structure in (literally) the best possible light. Her compositions keep each scene organized and allow our brains to make sense of where we are, what we are looking at, and all of the particularly beautiful details at play.

Another aspect I really appreciate about Marnie’s approach to photography is the healthy mix of overall shots and detail-oriented vignettes she takes the time to make. This helps tell the complete story of the home, and draws our attention to the meticulous details and craftsmanship that her clients put their hearts into.

Carrying on that same line of thought, Marnie’s compositions are a great mix of wide, all-encompassing views that help us note the layout of the space, while also providing images that show just enough to keep our attention on the primary subject and soak in all of the present design. Her reductive approach creates organized, meaningful scenes.

Many, many thanks to Marnie Hawson for sharing this project with us. If you are interested in learning all of the juicy details behind Enduring House’s sustainable design, I encourage you to visit Marnie’s project page on her website.

Learn more about Marnie Hawson and her mission to photograph sustainable architecture and forces of good in the architectural world at You can also pop by her Instagram @marniehawson.

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

Howdy! I'm Lexi. I write and make photographs. I love being outside and listening to '00s indie rock.
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