Home Sweet Home - Photos from around the house
Posted Tuesday, 15 February 2011 by Ellen Boughn in Ellen Boughn
Why do many photos dealing with housekeeping have a retro look? My theory, until recently, was that no one since the middle of the last century has learned how to bake, sew, can, iron or grow vegetables. As a woman whose 1950's mother sent her out into the world with a sewing machine and armed with two wooden recipe boxes filled with generations of recipes, I felt sorry for my younger associates, some of whom would starve without Chinese takeout.
But then came the slow food movement, an increased awareness of some of the ingredients in factory food, a takeover of vacant lots by community vegetable gardens, a proliferation of farmers' markets and the recession. People had to figure out what to do with all the food that they were growing or buying fresh. Cooking classes starting popping up everywhere. People began baking, putting up preserves and raising food like it was the 1800s.
It isn't only the smell of freshly baked bread coming from the open windows of upscale condos that signals a change, nor people showing up for dinner parties with a homemade pie instead of a bottle of wine. Interests in other old-fashioned skills are increasing too.
People of all genders and ages are cooking up a storm and they aren't just doing it in Kansas anymore. They are sewing, raising radishes and getting permits to have chickens in urban backyards. (Factoid: in Los Angeles there is no limit on the number of backyard chickens one can have...and you thought it was all about movie stars!)
The above topics are what is being covered in magazines, in the news and will be reflected in promotions. Keeping track of changes in attitudes and translating the changes into your photos will keep your portfolio up to date.
What photos add visuals to these trends?
Here are some ideas:
Urban gardens – Spring isn't that far off so start now to find the biggest community 'pea patches' in your locale. They are often colorful with a variety of urban farmers tending their small plots. In the suburbs...check with your neighbors...maybe there is a garden in a backyard close by. Document the garden from planting to harvest. Include the gardener (model release, of course) and also close in on the tomatoes on the vine.
Cooks love fresh herbs and grow them in all seasons on a window sill. Shoot from inside and from the outside of a window garden, looking in.
Photograph cooks of all kinds in the kitchen. Show single individuals preparing food, especially baking…cupcakes are having resurgence in popularity so they are a good choice to show, as are cookies. Picture an adult in the kitchen teaching a child how to cook.
Sewing and mending. Recession woes have caused some to reach into the back of the closet to find a long abandoned sewing box to repair clothes that they might have discarded in more bountiful times. Quilting and home sewing are no longer the sole purview of grannies.
An uptick in popular interest in knitting was spurred on five years ago by the news of certain celebrities' addictions to knitting. By the way, men knit too.
Blame the women's liberation movement of the last century for many women changing their title of 'housewife' to 'bread winner'. Now a new generation of women AND men is learning that keeping house isn't all drudgery. There can be great satisfaction in the work involved in keeping your home clean and tidy.
Many more men than women lost their jobs during the past couple of years, creating a new class of househusbands. Crestock needs photos of men doing housework, shopping and caring for children.
One very positive benefit that individuals are experiencing by turning their lives more toward home is that the traditional family meal is reappearing. It's easy for everyone to grab a frozen dinner and pop it into the microwave when it's convenient, but the cook who has spent time in growing and creating food is much more likely to expect everyone to get to the table for dinner at the same time. Show simple everyday family meals instead of always taking photos of big holiday meals. (Those are big sellers too—don't get me wrong!)
Ellen Boughn's best-selling book, Microstock Money Shots, is filled with insights, tips and advice on how to create commercial images and improve your work flow to profit from photography whether you're a hobbyist or a professional photographer.
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