By May 21, 2014 Read More →

Photographing home offices

Photographing home officesFreelance photographer Suzanne Mitchell is embarking on a fascinating new project.

She is photographing home offices and the people who work in them.

This is her journey from employee to freelancing,

her own home office, and her interest in others.

I am a freelance photographer, working from home in South East London. It hasn’t always been this way; I used to work on a busy magazine Art Desk as a Staff Photographer. But when the publisher decided to move the operation out of London, I decided it was time to move my business to the spare room!

That was six years ago and the intervening period has certainly been an experience of highs and lows. After the buzz of an Art Department, things can feel pretty lonely at times.

I’ve always been very much a team worker and the creative process demands a certain degree of collaboration. This can be tricky to find betwixt the four walls of a home office.

Photographers have suffered particularly acutely from the advent of digital. We used to shoot on film and transparency. This required several trips a week to the lab to drop off film and collect contact sheets and prints. You would always find a friendly face there and invariably you would bump into other photographers too.

Now the entire process can be done from a home office, we need never meet anyone from within our professional circle. A scary thought indeed for a gregarious soul.

But equally, the last few years have seen a burgeoning of networking groups in all professions. Photographers came a little late to the party, but I now find it much easier to meet my peers for collaborative ventures and sounding out ideas.

In common with many who work from home, my work space, or “study”, is also our spare room and a general dumping ground for all manner of paraphernalia. Only this morning I got to my desk to find a princess dress on my office chair and a trail of fairy glitter to accompany it!

So it can be an incredibly distracting and messy space; a place of isolation, frustration and self-doubt. However, it can also be a wonderfully creative and industrious place, where ideas flow and grand plans are mapped out.

I’m fascinated by how other home workers find the experience. What are the physical and mental spaces they carve out for themselves in order to produce their work?

How do they mould part of their home environment into a space where they can find, nurture and channel their creativity to craft their “product”?

How do they remain focused and productive, and how do they maintain a connectedness with others in their industry?

I have to admit, at this stage, that I have somewhat of a history in this field! In my former life I wrote an entire PhD thesis on what was then known as ‘teleworking’, so I suppose the curiosity has never quite left me!

Now I want to explore home workers and their work spaces by photographing home offices and making environmental portraits; authentic, rather than overly styled, images of home workers – at work, at home.

Where do you work? I’m interested in any kind of workspace, from bespoke garden studios, to the study in the spare room, to the dining table that is simply cleared to make way for work once the kids are at school or in bed!

work from home secrets

Suzanne is an editorial and commercial photographer based in London. Her work includes portraits, interiors, corporate and PR work and events. You can see many examples of her work at suzannemitchell.co.uk.

Picture taken by Paola Minekov‘s assistant Stephanie Koutny.

Posted in: Home offices

Comments are closed.

3 Shares
Share
Share2
Tweet
Pin1
Pocket
Share