Today we’re checking out a gorgeous project by Australia’s Shannon McGrath. Shannon is showing us a contemporary beauty by architects Robson Rak and giving us some insight into her photographic process.
Shannon introduces us to ‘Batavia’ by starting “This project was a lovely home to a family. Robson Rak are long-standing clients of mine and over the years of shooting projects together you build up a lovely rapport where I trust them in getting a project together for a shoot, and they trust me with poetic license.”
Shannon goes on to say “It was a multi-layer approach to the project. I need to think of photography on an architectural level and photography on an interiors level which I believe are two very different approaches. For architectural, is it all about the time of the day and working with the sun and its angles. With interiors for me its the opposite. From years of shooting I have found interiors are better in a softer non-contrasty light. The hard light of the sun causes heavy lines and shadows which can detract from the interior designers intentions. A nice shard here and there is allowed as they can create lovely shapes.”
Shannon’s favorite image is that of the the pool looking into the kitchen outdoor area. She explains “The fact that it was not a super sunny day gave a lovely subtle light that was just enough to create some contrast as well as still allowing the interior light to balance with the exterior light. I also like the layers form foreground to background where each layer is interesting.”
I especially love the graphic nature of Shannon’s work. She utilizes bold leading lines, showcases the light play in a space, and gives us subtle movement and repetition through patterns, line, and form.
She describes, “[Making compositions] becomes second nature and its something that just happens. I like a fairly simplistic approach where there is space and not too far from the truth. I need the eye to travel throughout the image and take in all the textures, colour, and light. I’m certainly not into the super wide angle lens standing in the corner approach that distorts everything — I’m the opposite I like to capture as it is in reality so you get a true sense of the space.”
Even her more encompassing establishing shots retain a feeling of intimacy, and are only as wide as they have to be. This cuts out extraneous visual information and hones our attention in to the perfect details and shapes present in each scene.
“As I was formally trained on film cameras,” Shannon says, “I learnt that you needed to do as much as you can on site with objects and light. My images are fairly true to the ambient light so I have a tendency not to push them too far in post. I want my images not to be too crunchy with post, but my favourite tool in Capture One is the Clarity tool. It’s simple but effective. Also I don’t use any HDR tools, as I manually merge highlight and shadows.”
Shannon’s images do appear crisp and polished while maintaining a true to life appearance. I appreciate the richness of the shadows and blacks in her pictures, while still maintaining a soft and well-balanced appearance in her interiors.
It all totals up to an elegant and sublime appearing set of photos, which perfectly showcase the essence of this beautiful home.
Shannon has been behind the camera for over twenty years, and it is evident in the quality of her work. With compelling compositions, subtle mood, and dripping with gorgeous light, her photographs of Batavia house uphold the spirit of her prowess as an architectural and interiors photographer.
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