Renovating a home is an exciting yet delicate process, as you want to respect the history and essence of the structure while also giving it your own flavor. The same approach can be said of interior photography with its necessity to capture the true mood, emotion, and atmosphere each individual has created for a space whilst also considering and respecting its surroundings. So when Chicago-based lifestyle photographer Lucy Hewett was hired by design magazine Dwell to capture the artful restoration of a 1952 Louisville, Kentucky home, she knew her distinctive storytelling photography could justifiably visually expose the homeowner’s unique renovation.
Lucy has worked with Dwell a few times over the years, once to photograph famed Chicago architect Jeanne Gang’s bird nest collection and another time to take a portrait of the artistic director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Yesomi Umolu. And as a result, has developed a level of trust and faith with the publication.
Part of Dwell’s visual style is that they don’t strictly use architectural photographers and instead incorporate saturated color and documentary photography. This approach is the perfect union for Lucy’s documentary-style, which exhibits bold use of color and a celebration of design through thoughtful compositions which compel the viewer to envision the story behind the imagery.
My photos are vibrant and graphic and are well incorporated into the magazine’s visual language.
John Brooks and Erik Eaker (both of whom are art collectors) are the homeowners behind the restoration and put an eye-catching contemporary twist on the mid-century home. Dwell provided a shot list and their desire to capture Erik and John’s art collection. Based on their requests, Lucy made a detailed schedule that mapped out how she could capture it and what time of day the light would best suit each area of the house.
I wanted the images to feel natural and relatable while still showcasing the artful design of the space. I really wanted the interior designer’s intentions to come through in the way I showcased each room.
The house was about a 10-minute drive from downtown Louisville on a quiet, densely wooded street, with other beautiful homes nestled in the foliage, comparable to an idyllic oasis.
Both days were full of sunshine and almost 90 degrees; it was shorts and loose linen weather!
Lucy and her assistant, Anna Denton, worked together closely cataloging each room, as well as with the homeowners.
We had fun with Erik and John during the portrait sessions and made sure to include their stately poodle, Ludwig, in most of the lifestyle photos.
Every corner of John and Erik’s home was filled with spectacular art, akin to wandering through a historic art gallery.
There were new details to discover in every shot I set up, and Anna and I were both excited to see a Ryan Pflouger photo in their collection – a photographer we’ve both admired for years.
Without a scout day, it was challenging for Lucy to build a comprehensive schedule and determine which parts of the property and interior should be shot and when. So Lucy “scouted” via Google Maps and was able to discern when the light would be on the house at each time of the day. In addition, she obtained some phone snapshots from the owners beforehand to see how the light affected each room.
We kept things fairly simple. I mixed shots up between tripod and handheld so that the final edit felt like a story and not just a technical documentation of the space.
Although Lucy primarily specializes in portrait and food photography, coming out of this project, she is keen to further explore and expand her craft into interior and architectural assignments.
I got my start in portrait and food photography – it was what I focused on while learning my craft and shooting for fun. But my degree is in graphic design, and I’ve found that interior and architecture projects come naturally to me, as my approach is rooted in composition, scale, and color.
See more of Lucy’s work on her website.
Photo Director: Susan Getzendanner
Photo Editor: Alex Casto
Creative Director: Suzanne LaGasa
Read more about Lucy on our Published blog.