One of the key aspects of Minimalism is removing any unnecessary ornamentation or detail that isn’t essential to a design. Melbourne-based Peter Tarasiuk recently worked with high-end furniture design company Ensemble to photograph their colorful and clean, simple products through a minimalist stripped-down shoot, staged in a corner of their factory.
I have been shooting for their parent company for a number of years and when Ensemble was developed they approached me to shoot the campaign.
Ensemble is a side project of larger company Slatter and Acquroff Stairs, a 100-year-old family business known for establishing minimalist and modern designs in many Australian homes. Peter had an ongoing relationship with the client, and they reached out to him about helping to launch their new brand.
Once I came aboard the project we had a few meetings to discuss style and exactly how the images were going to be used. It gave me a good basis to start the shoot with.
While the crisp images maintain the quality of a session shot in a spacious studio, the images were taken in a small corner of Ensemble’s furniture factory. Peter worked with the design team to build false walls and add artificial light that would set the tone for the bright and basic collection.
Photography can sometimes be very much about smoke and mirrors. We decided that we would shoot it in their warehouse and worked together to build a space that would be used as a photo studio.
Peter worked in the staged area and strove hard to capture each piece of furniture’s unique elements. Because they were utilizing one small corner of the factory, he didn’t want repetitive-looking images and moved around the space to provide some variety in the composition.
I had limited space to shoot because behind me was all the machinery and timber they use to produce their products.
Not only did the factory prohibit a range of motion for Peter, but he found the biggest problem it presented was an abundance of wood dust. The design team was meticulous in cleaning the products, but the images he captured still required some significant retouching in post-production.
Shooting in a factory space can be quite a challenge when you are trying to capture clean, new products. We combatted this with lots of rags for dusting and lots of spotting in post-production.
Ensemble’s design team came together to stage the images with Peter and stand in as talent for the lifestyle images. They completely trusted Peter’s vision for their brand and stepped back to allow him the creative freedom to capture the essence of their designs.
Working with the Ensemble crew is an absolute treat. They completely trust the work I do and the advice I give and I trust their feedback.
Because Melbourne is still in lockdown due to the pandemic, the assignment was delayed until the last minute and Peter worked hard to turn around the images in only a matter of days. As he captured each shot, he kept in mind which images he would need to retouch or extend the background for. This checklist enabled him to work faster under a tight deadline to produce quality images that both he and the client were happy with.
I was aware of the timeline so I tried to shoot in such a way that I could limit the retouching that was needed. In the end, it worked out pretty well and I was pleasantly surprised that my plan worked.
For a young company like Ensemble, it was important to craft their brand’s identity in a meaningful way that spoke to the details and elements of their designs. Their products take on an air of mystery and innovation as the artisans have many secrets to the unique production of their furniture. Peter felt lucky to be clued into these new design revelations and was eager to learn about their company culture and minimalist methodology.
The design of the product was more than 5 years in the making and I loved learning about that process. Plus two dogs running around on set was an absolute treat!