Behind the Scenes: Swimming with Ideas on Jupiter Island
As I was thinking about the types of posts I’d like to share with my readers, a series of “a day in the life” of the interiors photographer came to mind because those of us who professionally shoot design and architectural projects, and hospitality venues often find ourselves puzzling over a quirky list of ways to enliven our images, especially those for editorial clients. I thought I’d kick the Behind the Scenes series off by sharing a Jupiter Island home designed by Scott Hughes and John Umbanhowar, which I shot for Interior Design magazine. I’m choosing this as the first in the series because the pool, set within a terrace on its roof, inspired a last-minute creative move I had not planned when I showed up that day.
The home takes full advantage of its Atlantic Ocean views and is drenched in tropical light, the unfettered design a nod to the fact the homeowners love to sail and wanted to feel they are on the water rather than beside it when they are at home. The 36-foot lap pool was one of the home’s features that resulted from this desire, as it was conceived when the architects realized if they placed the long rectangle filled with water above the living spaces and left the bottom transparent, it would fill the interiors with glimmering sunlight as it wafted through it.
When we were walking through the home that day, I was impressed with the openness and light, even in the most cloistered portion, a stucco cube that holds the bedroom suites, which was brightened by skylights over the showers and a long mirror over the master-bath sink that reflects the ocean from the opposite wall of windows. Surveying the furniture and finding iconic names like Le Corbusier, Eero Saarinen, and Ray and Charles Eames excited me because I knew the pieces would read beautifully within the spare modern architecture “on film.” As I set up my equipment in the living room/dining room area, my eye was continuously drawn to that pool. What is going to make an impact there? I kept asking myself, looking through the lens to see if the buoyant patterns would “read” similarly to how my sight was recording them. It didn’t reflect the power quite as strongly as it did in person. Hmmm….
The early hours of the shoot went smoothly and I knew I had some terrific images the editors at Interior Design would like—the ocean stretching all the way to the horizon a powerful visual juxtaposed against the clean-lined, pale architecture. But the pool…I thought; Isn’t there something I could do that would make the pool more dynamic? As I was standing beneath it, my mind swirling with possibilities, I remembered my assistant had packed his swimsuit in the hopes of snagging some time for a dip in the ocean that day. Given I knew we’d be shooting until the last of the natural light was gone, I knew it wouldn’t take much urging to coax him into the pool for a few laps, and I was right. I photographed his body splashing through the water—his physique the perfect element for contrast and scale—and was thrilled for the happy accident that had inspired him to put those swim trunks into his bag!
It’s not the strangest move I’ve ever made during a shoot but it was one of the most rewarding because the editors loved it and I was able to place this home with a number of exemplary publications throughout Europe, including Architectural Digest in Germany. Thanks for stopping by the blog and for taking the time to read this post. If you have a spontaneous inspired creative move that resulted in an artistic success you’d like to share, I hope you will leave a comment. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
Text and images © Ken Hayden, all rights reserved.