Paul Bartholomew Tours a Restored Castle for New Jersey Monthly
Versatility, persistence, and Leica. Base your career around these traits (and this camera), and you’ll go far in this world. Paul Bartholomew can speak to this, as both characteristics proved valuable for a recent shoot for New Jersey Monthly, with whom he's worked since 2016. By keeping on their radar through regular emails and postcard promos, he’s managed to land about 2-3 gigs per year, including a recent shoot at Glynallyn Castle in Morris Township, N.J.
I’ve been mostly assigned food and lifestyle projects in the past. Since half my work is usually home design related, I’ve been asking the creative director [at NJM] for assignments in their Home & Garden section.
It took a while, but they found something to try me on, perhaps because I can handle both architectural and food subject matter.
The estate was purchased by acclaimed restauranteur Joseph Cetrulo (there’s that food connection) back in 2014. The Trinity Hospitality Group owner has spent the last half-decade restoring and renovating the castle, which was built in 1917. Glynallyn is big and interesting enough to be the subject of numerous articles. Fortunately for Paul and his shot list, NJM wanted to focus solely on the outdoor aspect of the property.
We were just photographing the outside areas for the photoshoot since it was based on outdoor entertaining. [The castle] is a work in progress because he’s [Cetrulo] still adding his personal touches.
It was very impressive and actually could be overwhelming if you don't have solid direction. I could think of a dozen article ideas for this estate and it’s easy to wander off and get distracted. So many new places these days lack personality; I love that the owner takes pride in the history of the estate and adds his own touch to it.
In order to properly prepare for the day-long assignment, Paul and NJM's Home &Garden Editor, Lauren Payne, toured Glynallyn with Joseph well in advance of shoot day.
We scouted the place weeks before the photoshoot, and that was very helpful with figuring out timing as well as the best areas to photograph. Joseph was very nice and excited to show his home.
The hard part was not knowing what to expect with the styling since we were relying on the homeowner and his team. Once I arrived on location for the photoshoot, I did a review and organized a revised plan. The photoshoot took about eight hours.
We started with the exterior views in the morning and took a break for a while so the crew could set up for the late afternoon gathering.
As you can see from the above tear, the get together was the crux of the shoot, but a project like this rarely goes according to plan. With so much to potentially cover — the 32,000-square-foot mansion sits on 7.3 acres and boasts 60 rooms, 14 bathrooms, and 575 stained-glass windows — Paul had to be ready for any and all audibles.
You need to be a problem solver and leave your ego at the door. Clients change their minds on things all the time, even during a photoshoot. Keeping emotions in check when things get changed around is crucial and usually comes with experience.
That demeanor is a key factor to a successful shoot and is something that Paul has honed over time. Paul’s experience in both the architectural and food space has also helped him cull a set of equipment as versatile as him. Good thing, too, as he needed everything in his Leica-heavy arsenal to complete the task at hand and ... compose with composure, if you will.
I use Leica because of the feel I get from the images. Just something hard to explain. It’s part of my style. All other cameras feel cheap to me when I pick them up. I encourage photographers to use a Leica SL or S system for a week and see for themselves.
I often photograph with a medium format Leica S camera system for exteriors and interiors, but this is limiting since [it is] best on a tripod and not optimal for handheld and candid style work. I always keep my mirrorless Leica SL on hand for the candids and food, especially if I’m using natural light and need to move fast. The quality of the optics and craftsmanship are incredible. Leica stays in it’s own lane and mission. Those who value Leica will buy and use Leica. I value Leica.
This photoshoot required all of the cameras and lenses I have. It’s super important that the photographer sets a calm tone at the photoshoot. You have to remember that the people you’re working with are probably more stressed than you.
Creative Director: Laura Baer
Home & Garden Editor: Lauren Payne
Photo Assistant: John Kish IV
Check out more of Paul's work at paulsbartholomew.com.
Check out our other great photographers on our Find Photographers page!