What’s in a Shoot – Napkin Folding 101

There are a lot of things that take place in a photo-shoot. Only one of the many is actual photographing. How about napkin folding? When you’ve got over 30, 6-seat restaurant tables to set, you’d better know how to fold napkins. That’s why a prepared photographer has napkin folds memorized – or better yet, in a book he can access when the need arises. And such a need did arise recently when I photographed the new teaching space at the Hospitality School Campus of FIU in North Miami. A gorgeous establishment with interiors by Echeverria Design Group and architecture by M C Harry Assoc. It’s more a luxury restaurant than a school training site. But then that’s the level most students aspire to and this place will definitely provide them the atmosphere for that kind of experience. All the tables and chairs were there of the day of the shoot – but table items were still in their original packing boxes having just been delivered to the site. So most of the first day was spent arranging the layout, unpacking and setting tablecloths, flatware, silverware, stemware and, with the help of a stylist, 38 floral centerpieces. Then came the napkins that required an elegant fold. From my book I chose a fold called, “The Havanna” and we proceeded to fold the 200+ napkins needed for the shoot.
Moral: An interiors photographer can never be “too” prepared.

An Architectural Gem Rediscovered

Finally, a comprehensive, fully illustrated book on Florida’s famous Singing Tower, “Bok Tower and Gardens, America’s Taj Mahal”. This site was one of Florida’s principal attractions in the first half of the 20th century. It is an example of the Golden Age of Architecture, among the worlds most beautiful buildings. Located on a hilltop among orange groves in the center of the state near Lake Wales, its creation was a gift to the public from one of America’s early 20th Century publishing geniuses, Edward Bok (Ladies Home Journal). The beautiful gardens were designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, Jr. (whose father had designed Central Park), and the tower housing the carillon was designed by Milton Bennett Medary in what author, Kenneth Treister identifies as the “National Romantic Style”. Mr. Treister was aided in his research by David Price, president of The Bok Tower Gardens Foundation. With a forward by Derek Bok, grandson of Edward Bok and former president of Harvard and an epilogue by Florida Governor and Senator, Bob Graham, the book at last fills a void by exploring in detail a treasure that identified with the mystique of Florida in the first half of the 20th Century.
My contribution to the book was the photography which the publisher, Rizolli, reproduced with the utmost care. The coffee table book will be released nationwide in October but can be found today at the Bok Tower & Gardens Center on-site.



Dan Forer – About Architectural and Interiors Photography

This is my very first blog – really! I’m told that it’s important in a blog to write about things that will be of interest to the public, to those who may come across this blog in their internet wanderings. I find myself wondering what can be so special about these words, my thoughts on the subject of photography, and especially of architectural photography. It’s been the work that has fascinated and occupied my days and many of my nights for over forty years. So here goes . . .

Much of my time in photography has been spent trying to figure out how to make the impossible, possible – to transport a viewer to a place he‘s not physically in. It’s more about communicating “feeling” than anything else. How can a person really “feel” a presence in a place brought to him via the two dimensions of a screen or a piece of paper? My view is that it’s primarily about light. Our sense of light and dark are the prime senses we rely on to navigate in the real world, so it makes sense to me that this primal sense is the same that affects our perception of a two dimensional image. And isn’t all photography itself simply the capturing of light?

So I’ve basically become a “lighting guy”, a person who paints and sculpts with light. Every image I create is in some way a product of the opportunistic capturing of available light or the manipulation of added light, or a combination of the two. And to make the end product seem real and natural, to communicate that sense to the viewer, that’s the challenge of my craft.

I have had zillions of experiences in this realm of light and I’ll share some of my more curious and demanding ones in future blogs. Keep tuned . . .

Dan Forer Architectural Photographer Miami, Florida