MIT alumnus David Miller in his net-zero home in Newton, MA. Miller and his wife designed the home with the aim to minimize energy consumption. Among a range of technological and architectural features, the house possesses a front hall that creates a wind tunnel effect when first- and second-floor windows are open (the hot air being sucked up through the open stairwell area to keep the home cool), windows with extremely thick casings to create powerful insulation, a north-facing living room that is entirely solar-heated in winter, and a roof covered in solar panels, which generate enough energy to power a majority of the home, as well as the owners’ electric cars.
Jessie, a returning client, contacted me recently with a proposal that summarized the kind of work I love – a mashup of creative needs that had to follow a condensed schedule. She needed a portrait – “and let’s do it quickly while it all feels fresh” – and wanted help teaching her Boston University design students how to photograph their artwork. Overlapping with this, she requested that the class, and her teaching it, be documented as candidly as possible. Students would be in two groups: one would be learning camera skills, while the other conducted a peer review, overseen by Jessie. Given the nature of the project, I enlisted my husband Tim Correira to teach so that I could focus on her portrait and covering the class. Luckily, this large red and black painting, stationed in a studio room glowing with natural light, allowed for a bold backdrop in what turned out to be a three-minute portrait session… record timing, that.
There was an additional interesting quality to the shoot; Jessie initially hired me for family portraiture years ago, and I’ve gotten to cross over with her into new areas, documenting her professional work, inclusive of headshots, her design website, and now, this class. Similarly, it was a lovely thing to be working with Tim in a new professional capacity; he and I occasionally work together for photo shoots, but watching him teach students about his work and engaging his technical skills in a new way had me thinking about (and still processing) the potential for our career growth in multiple directions. I appreciate the trust that Jessie, and clients like her, invest in me to be part of their own growth, and it challenges me to develop new perspectives and strategies for my work.