What would you expect to find after driving 45 minutes down a dirt road through the Costa Rican jungle? Probably not a multi-million dollar home with amenities that would make most of us green with envy. That’s exactly why Los Angeles- and Kansas City, Mo.-based travel, food, interior, luxury, lifestyle, and hospitality photographer Lisa Corson was asked to photograph it for The Wall Street Journal’s “Mansion” section.
Lisa used to be a photo editor for the WSJ before picking up her camera full time and has shot a number of features for them over the past year, but this particular project presented some unique challenges.
What the Journal was looking for me to capture was the dichotomy of this luxurious home, off the grid in a remote corner of the jungle, but with all the conveniences of modern life. And, being a newspaper, to show that without any retouching.
She was also limited in how much equipment she was able to bring to the remote location on a tight budget, but being a problem solver, she was able to use the available light to her advantage. Lisa approached the home as an explorer, and captured images that showcased the juxtaposition of the unique and stunning jungle view with a home that owner Derek Ferguson characterizes as “the New York loft he couldn’t afford to build there,” (though I think this may have still cost a pretty penny).
Derek also played a pivotal role in this project for Lisa (besides owning an amazing home in an amazing location). She was able to get travel advice from someone who knew the area, stay in his ecolodge, and eat with him and his fiancé in their home. This afforded her the opportunity to get to know both the house and the people better, as well as allowing her to meet their dogs and pet monkey Rang. It only seems appropriate to have such a unique pet in such a unique home.
The overall reaction to the images has been very positive, but Lisa says “the crowd favorite is an Instagram of me eating salad with a monkey.”
Her advice to travelers?
When you’re in a new, unfamiliar place, ask lots of questions — of everyone. My taxi driver pointed out wildlife, told me what land had been cleared for farming and what was virgin forest, and gave a short history of the area.