22 May Wappingers, NY Installation Photographs | Steve Morris Designs
This project came through a friend who was writing a story on this project. She described a photo shoot that needed to be done for Steve Morris a local designer/builder/creator/all around artist of custom made things. Things like staircases, gates, furniture, lighting fixtures, structural elements, well you get the point, he is an artist with the skill set and smarts to actually build the stuff he designs. So this particular creation of his was a wine cellar, more specifically a wine rack. Ann the writer told me that some photographs of the wine rack needed to be shot for the story. Ok, sounds straightforward enough. A week or so later I have a phone conversation with Steve and he fills me in a bit as to what he is looking for. Then he sends me some shots he did of the piece. HOLY SMOKES! Ok so, this not a wine rack it’s a full on metal sculpture that holds wine. Combining materials and design in a most unique way, Steve designed and built a custom spiral staircase with lucite steps surrounded by a turret holding hundreds of bottles of wine. My description doesn’t do it justice, please refer to the pictures to see what I’m trying to describe. It is a marvel of construction. Over the top cool, and very well designed and built.
I show up on the day of the shoot with a car full of gear as I’m not really sure how I was going to approach this and what would be needed. Also after talking to Steve he had told me that the shots were to contain people which alters the shoot quite a bit. Suddenly we are needing to stop action. In editorial stories you can have some motion in the shots, but in advertising you generally want clean blur free images. These photographs were going to be used for a magazine story but I also wanted to cover it in a way that Steve could use it as general advertising. The cellar is a cellar in that it’s all underground/grade so no daylight to speak of, so we needed to light. Anyway I’m prepared.
I meet Gary the home owner and he walks me into the space. Which is fully equipped with a tasting bar, full room refrigeration and a monster TV. The space is broken into 3 distinct areas, a bar area with the big screen, a tasting area, and the wine rack/staircase area. Immediately the biggest challenge facing me is the lighting. There is nowhere to place my lights. I had luckily brought a small flash that I could tuck up into a shelf and trigger with a radio slave. Normally I always try and use as much existing light as I can with interiors because it’s the only way to maintain the mood in photographs that the designer created. If I just popped a big flash into the room I could light it up like Times Square but all the mood and feeling of the room would be negated. So I usually augment the lighting with my own, but in this case I really let the existing light do most of the work and used the small flash to stop the action. A little nerve racking, my shutter speeds were low enough allowing some possibility of blur. I gelled the flash to match the the color of the existing lights and we were off. I shot several scenes of Steve, the homeowners, then moved onto the structure itself. Not an easy thing to depict but the photographs I got were strong and it looks great.
Seeing what he can do I would highly recommend Steve for any project that involves design and construction, the man has got it! Go check out him out on his page at, Houzz or like him on his Facebook or Instagram feed.
Oh and a big thank you to Ann Hutton for the introduction.