Posted on 18 November 2019
The production of our annual jewellery catalogue is always a major event in our lives with so many decisions to be made.
Which items of jewellery should we feature – and which do we leave out and why?
Shall we keep the format the same as before?
Should we include model photographs or keep all the pages ‘still life’?
Well, we have, over the years, adopted all of these practices and have had great fun experimenting.
My conclusions are that it is best to have a ‘Human Element’ within the pages. This is not just to illustrate what some of the jewellery looks like when it is being worn, although that is, of course, a major consideration, but to alleviate the eye of the reader. Page after page of ‘still life’, regardless of how beautiful the jewellery, can become a little hypnotic and so suddenly seeing a different format refreshes the brain.
Over the years we have built up a wonderful library of model shots most of which were taken by one of the UK’s foremost photographers, JOHN SWANNELL and styled by me – and I am very proud of them!
However, one thing that I have discovered is that the position of the model’s eyes is critical to the effect that the photograph will have. When one turns the pages of a catalogue or a magazine one immediately connects with the model’s eyes, just as one does when facing somebody in the flesh, and whilst this shows honesty and politeness in the latter situation, in a catalogue it defeats the entire object as the items of jewellery that one is trying to promote become secondary!
So, this year we have taken a different approach and one that, as far as I know, has never been done before in a catalogue and that is to enlist the help of a portrait painter and to indulge in a little mixed media.
Now probably my favourite contemporary artist is EMILY LAMB who creates the most wonderfully dramatic, truthful, accurate and breath-taking wildlife paintings as well as portraits – her idiosyncratic backgrounds with her clever use of colour juxtaposition is utterly breath-taking and immensely satisfying.
We approached Emily with our idea and, happily, she agreed to paint two stylized head and shoulders portraits, using her sister, Georgina, as the model, but, taking note of my ‘eye philosophy’, leaving out the facial features.
Having collected these barely dry paintings fresh from Emily’s easel, we then had the jewels photographically applied onto them. This has resulted in wonderful mixed media images with the jewellery really coming to life and, as there are no eyes to distract the viewer, they really emphasise just how the jewellery will look in wear.
What is most gratifying is that the resulting effect is exactly how Cherry and I envisaged it during our original epiphany over a particularly creative, and delicious, dinner in New York this summer!
The collateral bonus is that it is wonderful to have found a tie-in with a cause that is so close to both Emily’s, Georgina’s and our hearts and to therefore have a pertinent opportunity to affiliate ourselves with and to publicise the wonderful and unrelenting work of The DAVID SHEPHERD WILDLIFE FOUNDATION, Emily and Georgina being the late David Shepherd’s grand-daughters, whilst at the same time promoting our jewellery in an original and refreshing way!