Fresh off our party and popup shop in Calgary Spring 2014, we sat down to discuss the direction of our next Limited Edition Collection photo shoot, and kept circling back to all the creative women who attended our event (search the #PoppyBarleyParty hashtag on Instagram to see for yourself!).
Lori Andrews was one of them (you may remember her here). An interior designer, photographer (check out her “Wonder Woman Series”) and Instagram star, we decided to just make the Gotham Grey Highline Boot, Midnight Confetti Feminine Slipper and Park Avenue Classic Point to Lori’s measurements, ship them to her, and let her do her thing. You can imagine our delight when she told us she was game!
We are thrilled with the results. Acting as both model and photographer, Lori created a series of gorgeous self-portraits and product shots that showcase the collection and its leathers just how we want them to be received. From meticulous set styling and contrasts with shadows and light, she’s captured the density of our grey leather boots, the unique confetti-like texture on our loafer-style shoes, and the richness of our purple suede pointed-toe ballet flats.
Find out more about Lori in this candid Q&A below, and Psssst: visit Lori’s Instagram feed to get a very special PB code!
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I earned my BFA at The U of C quite a few years ago. My major was drawing.
Describe yourself in three words.
Confident, gregarious, enthusiastic.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is not typical at all. On any given day I might be professionally shooting for a local designer, a local magazine or a private client. On days that I am not booked to shoot for others I often plan my own shoots for art shows or stock imagery. When I have interior design clients, the day looks completely different as I am running errands, sourcing and presenting on those days. Every day begins with a strong aeropress coffee at 6:00 am. Next, I usually follow that up with another coffee while answering emails and preparing for my day. I cook all my own meals and work out everyday as well. Sometimes I fit a run or a gym visit in during “working hours”, or if the weather is fine, I will work on a Saturday and take a wednesday to go hiking instead.
What does your creative process look like?
I have a definite process. I begin each project (whether photography or design) with an overall vision brainstorm, next I will assemble the materials, locations and further conceptualize my final image or project. For me, the completed image (whether a completed design project or a photograph) represents all of my intentions during the conceptualization stages. So even in design, it is the final photograph that becomes my art. I am a set designer, I am a stylist and an art director as well as my own model.
When did you start taking photographs?
I started taking photographs in 2005, the year I joined flickr.
What’s the story behind “The Wonder Series”?
I offer you this excerpt from an essay written by Emily Barnett which accompanies my Wonder Woman box set.
”This fuller range of qualities that the Wonder Woman character possess, and the self-identification that many women have for this cultural icon, have provided photographer and designer Lori Andrews with the seeds of inspiration.
Andrews whom has a predilection towards exploring self-identification as subject, is widely known for her “headless” self-portraits, where she is at once set designer, stylist, model and photographer. To great avail, Andrews regularly creates these photos, obscuring her own identity in order to provide the viewer the opportunity to envision themselves into her tasteful lifestyle.
Through “The Wonder Series” Andrews continues with the anonymity, coyly obscuring her own facial recognition through pose or props. Lori recreates past photos and travels across three western Canadian provinces to return to favorite locations, this time dressed in her custom-made Wonder Woman suit. Collectively the series does explore the feminist qualities of Wonder Woman, which make her a timeless iconic figure. Where other artists such as Dara Birnbaum’s 1978 video art piece Technology|Transformation: Wonder Woman  subverted the ideology of the character through appropriation and repetition of the 1975 – 1979 program staring Lynda Carter, Lori Andrews contributes new visual imagery to the lexicon, that fills in the missing gaps of our feminist heroine. Andrews depicts Wonder Woman in quieter moments outside her role as an evil fighting superhero. Rather Andrew’s version of Wonder Woman is more of the everyday woman enjoying leisure time; moments of relaxation, hesitation, vulnerability, rejuvenation, contemplation and even annoyance.”
When did you start taking self-portraits?
Immediately after I joined Flickr. I knew that having a subject (person) in photos made them more interesting, but I started out by always disguising my face or cropping my head out. I was an early adopter of social media (flickr for example) and as such I was reluctant to provide what I considered my most personal images. What began as a tool to keep anonymous eventually became second nature and very much grew in importance to my work.
Any tips for taking self-portraits?
Actually, I want to give a class soon! My number one rule is step away from the camera. If you are using your phone, get a self timer app or bluetooth remote. Same for any camera. Arms-length selfies are distorting and oddly unflattering. Next, find good light.
Any tips for taking Instagram photos?
Apps! Unlike many popular instagrammers and bloggers, I don’t use the same set of apps on all of my photos. I edit them differently depending on my mood and the subject. Sometimes my Instagram images are highly saturated and clear, sometimes I choose more muted filters. It’s always just for fun of course.
What editing tools do you use on Instagram?
I use apps like VSCO, and camera+ in-phone before I post. I still use the Instagram filters as well. Whatever feels good that day.
How did you grow your following on Instagram?
I was on Instagram very early and very early on Instagram promoted me on their blog. Of course, there was probably 1/100 of the numbers that they have now. Also, my friends and followers from flickr have always been supportive.
If you could photograph anyone, who would it be?
Annie Leibovitz. Because she is amazing.
What’s your favourite part about taking portraits?
I adore taking portraits of other people. My goal is to find the most beautiful parts of my subjects and translating that through the lens. My fav part is when they write me to say how pleased they are and occasionally, that I had taken the “best” photo of them ever.
If you could host a dinner party with anyone—dead or alive—who would you invite?
Annie Leibovitz, Diane von Fürstenberg, Grace Coddington and Lynda Carter. Idols at my house for dinner! I’d serve them tacos. Spicy chicken and vegetarian tacos.
How does Calgary and Alberta lend itself to your photography?
I love where I live. I am a born and raised Albertan and the entire essence of my subconscious is firmly rooted with one foot on the prairies and one in the Rocky Mountains. I live for outdoor pursuits in Alberta both winter and summer. Calgary provides endless inspiration in the city itself. Architecturally it might be the most possible exciting time for a city and socially we have an amazing and talented population of artists, creatives and people who simply “make things happen”.
How do you decide where to hike in Calgary?
I’ve been back country hiking for 30 years. I have favorite spots in Kananaskis and Banff that I return to again and again. I follow several hiking blogs and own many books as well. Mostly I decide by how hard I want to work and how much I want to get to the view. My hikes range from 3 hours to 10 on any given day.
Where do you pull inspiration from for your interior design projects and clients?
I have been obsessed with architecture and design since University back in the the early 90’s. My favorite magazines have interiors that simply never date. I have kept most of my Metropolitan Home (now defunct) issues, I adore Marie Claire Maison and Elle decor. I have a European, clean modern and colorful approach to design. I rarely follow trends but rather, I have favorite designers, blogs, shops, books and my own travel to inform my decision making process.
Who are some standout people you’ve worked with over the years—in photography and interiors?
Oh, good question! I’m simply going to name names. Ricky Zayshley from Avenue Magazine, Anna Dorfman from doorsixteen.com, the fabulous people from Blurb books, Victoria from sfgirlbybay.com, Sue Dampsey, Emily Barnett and around 300 other super amazing people who have helped me, hired me or worked with me!
What are some standout brands you’ve worked with—for photography and interiors?
I will give you some recent examples- Design wise, I am proud of my work for the interior decor at local coffee legend Analog cafe, I have some super images coming out for my favorite local boutique hotel Hotel Arts, and my home, images and interview are about to be published in the biggest newspaper in Spain El Pais.
Describe your personal style in three words.
Colorful, uninhibited, studied.
What Poppy Barley product would you like to own?
The Chelsea Boot in Ruby Red is on my list for this winter!