Stylists, installations and shooting: in the design magazines we always see photos of wonderful houses, but perhaps not everyone knows that behind every perfect photograph there is always a long process of study. Because before the photographer takes pictures, there is the work of the stylist, who imagines, studies and creates the set-up for the shooting. But what does the stylist’s job is about? We asked Irene Baratto, stylist who collaborates with magazines and architects since 2010 with her Verderame studio in Milan.
When did you start working as a stylist?
After university, for a few years, I worked as a graphic designer in a famous studio in Milan. One day my art director asked me to work on a catalog project for a famous retail brand: I had to check the shooting and direct the stylist. I didn’t know that meeting changed my life! For days I worked side by side with a woman who later become the editor in chief of Vogue Brazil. And Ii was her who told me that I was perfect for the styling job! And so, after practicing in another studio, in 2010 I founded my own studio called Studioverderame. It’s ten years that I make this job with the same passion and curiosity.
What is the work of a stylist before and during the shooting of a house?
We need to imagine a house, a catalog, an advertising campaign, like an empty box with white walls. This box must be measured, organized, studied and then filled and animated. The stylist has this task. She follows her intuition and at the same time harmonizes and translates the “intentions” of the client or home owner. Listening is the first phase: you have to listen and select the informations the client gives you. In the second phase you translates them into images. The third phase is the most complex phase: researching. The stylist begins the search for furnishing accessories and objects that will harmonize any interior/room. At that point you are ready to transfer all of these ideas to the customer and describe him like a “journey” made of colors, materials, objects. The moment of the shooting is the final moment of a stylist’s work. The customer reviews the project translated into space. The set for the stylist is the moment of “fun”, when thanks to the photographer, what was only a thought and a concept, becomes reality!
How do you choose the photographers and magazines to work with?
We choose eachothers! This work is mainly made by relationships and empathy. It’s impossible now to think of working individually. Our work has a more solitary phase – the research – but the rest is a team job. Every person on the set has a fundamental role. When a customer calls you and entrusts you with the task to make the photos, you already know which photographer you need to create the right team and get to the goal.
Does it still make sense to talk about trends in the interior world?
I believe that we can no longer speak about “trends” in the interior world. For years we followed different trends: the Scandinavian, the industrial, the vintage. Today, however, the most important thing is to listen the real needs, especially if we talk about houses to live. Customers have become very demanding but also much more “expert” and used to seeing nice images. They have many more ideas and they oscillate between knowing exactly what they want and letting themselves be guided. This is the most difficult part, I love to create eclectic interiors, which do not have a real trend or a single style.
How much do you think is important to take the right photograph today?
Today we are all expert bloggers and we know how to capture the best pic, with that frame, light and effect. So consider how important it is when you translate it into a job. The photographer is exactly the other half of the stylist who makes it possible. He knows how to give the right atmosphere with lights to what is just an idea a the beginning Together with the stylist, the photographer organizes the space and through the camera “marks an outline” around the objects.
A tip for those who want to work today as stylist?
In my experience the previous step as a graphic designer was fundamental. The graphic job is made of proportions, volumes and weights. Even today my mind and my eyes still work with a graphic point of view. We must always remember that the camera sees differently than how we do. So first we need to understand and study objects and have the intuition of how to put them in a nice space. The other important aspect is the curiosity and to be able to fold all the experiences you have in your mind. It’s like to have a sort of mental blackboard, in which you can write and catalog everything that in some way and for some details touched you.
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