Great product images are crucial in this age of Instagram and Pinterest, but often the focus is more of being commercially appealing than telling a unique story. That’s why this photoshoot caught our attention. While designed to be a showcase of the wood and cork pieces in Melanie Abrantes’ collection, this was no standard catalog shoot. Instead, a team of three creatives collaborated on a vision that is itself a piece of art, or at the very least a playful take on classic art. We talked with stylist Genevieve Bandrowski to learn more about how she, Melanie Abrantes, and photographer Melanie Riccardi were inspired by the work of the Dutch Masters.
What is your background and how did you get into styling?
My lifelong interest in design and love for all things creative has led to a reasonably diverse career as well as some amazing opportunities. I grew up in Oakland, California but moved east to Baltimore for college where I studied Painting, Curatorial Studies and Art History at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). After moving back to Oakland I spent a few years working for designers in local studios where I was able to really flex and broaden my interest in design. When you’re a small independent studio, often out of necessity you and your team learn to run every aspect of a business. If I hadn’t had these fierce female designers handing over tons of creative license for me to experiment with, I don’t think I would have ever had the confidence to open a studio of my own.
The first professional styling job I had was for designer Melanie Abrantes. In 2015 I had been working in her studio for a few months as a production assistant and had mentioned my interest in styling. When it came time to launch her next collection she gave me full reign to art direct and style the photoshoot. Through that first shoot, which is still one of my favorites we fostered a really amazing collaborative relationship with photographer Melanie Riccardi. The three of us have now partnered on all of Abrantes’s collections as well as her book Carve, A Simple Guide to Whittling, which was published last year. (Editor’s note: learn more about Carve in our interview with Melanie Abrantes.)
In addition to styling, in 2016 I started my first business, WEND Studio, a furniture company which I co-own. We specialize in handmade rattan furniture which we design and have hand woven by our partners, a family in Indonesia.
How did the idea for this shoot get started?
The concept for an art themed shoot came from Melanie Abrantes. She had been intrigued by the idea of having me recreate recognizable masterworks through styling. We met at the farmers market earlier this summer to talk through the idea and while we stood at a fruit stand over these vibrant yellow watermelon slices we came to the mutual thought of Dutch still lives. The notion came to us while surrounded by these gorgeous locally grown fruits and vegetables and while looking around I thought let’s modernize the still life and make it personal to your life experience. We talked through the events and rituals that for Melanie are reminiscent of each season. The idea was both collaborative and really personal which allowed for each season to become very representational. The overall process of bringing an idea to reality – whether it be for a photograph, interior or even a film for me is creatively very satisfying.
See each season and its specific inspiration in the slideshow!