April 26, 2010

Q+A with Janis Nicolay

I'll confess. I had to apologize to Janis after I realized who she was. I may have been a little bit of a dork. Can't blame me, I was excited. Realizing that so many of the homes and interiors I have loved looking at over the years in my favorite magazines - that she took the photographs. I have since hopefully regained a little composure. Let me introduce Janis Nicolay, an interiors and lifestyle photographer ( site here ) and author of the gorgeous blog, Pinecone Camp.

I enjoyed this Q+A, and I hope you do too. Thanks Janis, it's been a blast conversing with you-

1. Camera of choice?

I mostly use my Canon and an array of lenses. I also have a medium format film camera, which I still love using. There’s something magical about film!

2. What is the coolest home you’ve ever photographed?

Ooh, that’s a tough a question! I’ve shot so many great places, but one of the coolest would be the Cuddington house, in the current issue of House and Home magazine. It’s a very “green” home, with a hydroponic green roof to keep the house cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Other green elements include a HEPA air filtration system, no PVC or CFCs, bamboo flooring and cabinetry and much more.

3. What magazines do you shoot for?

Off the top of my head, House and Home, Style At Home, Vogue Living (Australia), Country Living, Garden Design, Canadian Gardening.

4. What is the process when you know you are shooting a home?

I always try to see the home in person, before we shoot. It’s good to be able to check out the lighting, which direction the house faces, and to have an idea of size of the space.
For the actual shoot, I’ll work with a stylist and my assistant. My assistant and I will find an area to set up a computer, work out lighting, then help the stylist if furniture has to be moved around, or props need to be arranged. I also never drink alcohol the night before a shoot. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way!

5. You live in Vancouver, BC. We lived there for a short time, I LOVED it, my hubby, not so much. What’s your favorite place in Vancouver?

Well, I have to ask....why didn’t your hubby love Vancouver? Ha-ha! I was born here, and I do really love it. My favorite place would have to be Chinatown. I thought it was magical when I was a child, and I still do. It’s starting to make a bit of a comeback now, with great restaurants and shopping.

6. What’s your favorite item in your closet?

Ugh. I was just rooting through my closet today - I need to go shopping! If I have to choose, it would have to be my black dress from Comrags (Canadian designers). Oh, and all my vintage silk scarves. Love wearing scarves.

7. Do you travel a lot? If you come to Calgary, will you come for coffee?

I used to travel a lot more, but since so many magazines have shut down, publishers are being more cautious. I still travel around B.C., but you never know I just might be in Calgary one of these days. I would definitely have a coffee with you.....or a glass of wine;)

8. Can we see a picture of your home?

Hmm. It’s a work in progress, so I’ll just show a vignette of our living room. Maybe I can update you when we have it all finished!

9. What is a tip you can share for photographing our own homes?

Natural light!!! Tighter shots are a little nicer than big wide shots as well.

10. How do magazines find the homes they feature?

From a bunch of super sleuth stylists, photographers, designers as well as homeowners.

11. What is your favorite thing to photograph?

How about a few “things”? Cute details, the alleys of Melbourne, and food. Lifestyle stories are always fun too....especially if working with unpredictable llamas or emus and children!

12. And can you share your favorite photograph?

This is one of my favorites and it’s not a street scene, alley or food! This old ford is on my sister-in-law’s property in a small town in Victoria, Australia. When I took this photo, it was almost sunset on a very hot summer evening. I love the colours and the flare from the sun. It’s just an image that brings back happy memories. There were several geese honking behind me while I was taking this picture, as well. Would that be a “gaggle” then? They were very irritated with me.

13. Married, kids?

No kids, but I do have a fabulous permanent date (a.k.a. Husband), Robert.

14. . What are you famous for? What do the people closest to you know you for?
( Sorry, it’s my favorite question. I used to use it all the time when interviewing for Pottery Barn. I LOVE the answers )
Buying clothes in haste and returning them. I do this ALL THE TIME. I also have a terrible foot-in-mouth issue and an irrational fear of ketchup. There you have it!

Ok, so I can't explain my husbands bad taste ;) , I would love to see the finished house ( you're killing me with that gorgeous shot ) + I'm free for wine whenever you're in town- oh, and ketchup.. really...


La Dolfina said...

You know, you are a fabulous interviewer! You ask great questions. I also loved your interview with Jill Brinson.

tamara said...

I'm lucky, Janis is a friend. Not only is she incredibly talented, she is kind, funny, smart and generous. Thanks for the interview - more people should know about the wonderfully creative Janis Nicolay!

Kellie Collis said...

What a fabulous interview. And im green with envy, what a job! x

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

cool interview - she has great style! julesx

Pooch Purple Reign said...

cheers....great interview. i really enjoy janis' blog. and, that car shot is amazing

Anonymous said...

What a great interview! I am loving the picture of the old ford! Hope your having a wonderful day! xoxo

Unknown said...

Wow, this was so great! I adore her blog and her photos, and I loved learning more about her here, through your thoughtful questions!

Abby Hunter said...

Great interview! I love Janis Nicolay...thanks for sharing. Looking forward to following your beautiful blog!

Pink Wallpaper said...

love your questions!!

Anonymous said...

Great questions! I have always wanted to know how magazines find the houses they shoot. Now I'm wishing I was one of those super sleuths who find those houses.

BellaLovesPink said...

great interview! makes me want a nice camera too!

iamchasingthirty said...

AWESOME! I love this. Super inspirational on my dreary Tuesday afternoon:) thank you!!

All things nice... said...


Thank you for introducing me to your blog, it so so pretty and full of wonderful interiors and design ideas, keep up the good work, love the interview too :) Thanks for visiting my wee blog and following me. I'm be stopping by here from now on :)

All things nice...

Erica Cook said...

great job!
also tagged you in a fun little game over at moth. xoxo e

A Casa da VĂ¡ said...

hoe lovely!
yeah I also love interviews!

Pinecone Camp said...

Thanks Sarah! It was fun chatting with you. I'm so used to being behind the scenes, it was certainly different being the "subject"!
hope to see you soon, in Calgary, for a glass of wine;)

Ink Obsession Designs said...

What a fun interview! Thank you for introducing me to your blog - I absolutely love it! :)

bluehydrangea said...

Great interview!! Love Janis and her fabulous blog!! Can I join y'all for coffee/wine?

That Girl in Pearls said...

What a great interview! I am totally notorious for post shopping spree reality checks and returns. Whoops!

PS I tagged you in 6th pic!!


A Room For Everyone said...

How very interesting and what a lovely woman. I long for 'an array of lenses' for my camera. Isn't photography wonderful? Rxx

paula said...

such a great interview. I just adore her work.

dahlhaus said...

Had the privilege of being photographed by this talented gal! She was a lot of fun! Great interview!

Rachel said...

What a great interview! I love all the pictures!

Razmataz said...

I have recently started following Janis's blog and love it and her talent. Great interview, Thank you.

PinkPanthress said...

Janis & I have been following each others Blog for a few Months now & I have to say that she is a very kind & lovely person!

I found your Q&A via her Blog, and I really loved the work you did here, very interesting to read!

karen said...

We were so lucky to have had Janis photograph my family at Jericho ... she was as wonderful and warm as this interview, and totally spontaneous. Nature was as much a part of the shots as were my children -- the pictures are a dream!

Great interview!