This shoot was influenced by my love of Japan and experiences on a recent family holiday there. It was photographed by the talented Ben Anders.
I have always admired the way the Japanese use space, embrace texture and use dark shadows and this shoot explores those elements, showing that even when there is empty space, an image can feel complete.
A recent book I read, a gift from a friend, entitled In The Praise Of Shadows is an essay on Japanese aesthetics by author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. It explores architecture and a sense of the use of space in buildings. This magical book also includes descriptions of lacquerware under candlelight and illustrates beauty in the imperfect.
I painted the backdrops and surfaces to give texure and interest to calm areas in the shots. The foliage was selected for the natural imperfections. The shot above was influenced by temple moss gardens, small internal courtyard gardens and miniature planting.
Many props were brought back from Japan from visits to flea markets, stationers, calligraphy stores and ceramics galleries. Other props were from home made by Japanese ceramicists and bought from Flow Gallery.
Photography Ben Anders, styling Sania Pell.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a contributing stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for 17 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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