Timothy Kaye x Lovelight
“I’m always watching and searching for different lighting conditions; waiting and anticipating those moments when the natural light creates something special. Without fail, the best conditions to capture an interior is during an overcast day.” Timothy Kaye, Architectural Photographer.
This month we go behind the lens to love and appreciate light from a completely different perspective. We were lucky enough to have an in-depth conversation with renowned architectural photographer - Timothy Kaye. Tim has photographed some of Melbourne’s most beautiful homes and with his background in both architecture and design, he brings an eye to interior photography that is uniquely artistic, expressive and captivating. Tim talked us through all things light, photography, some of his favourite projects and even provided a couple of tips and tricks we can all use in order to capture better images of our spaces.
Tim’s love of photography dates all the way back to high school, “during my schooling years I could be found most afternoons in the fine art room and its makeshift darkroom. After being introduced to shooting on film and the process of developing photographs in the darkroom, photography naturally fused with my obsession with fine art.” Whilst his love of still images might have been fostered early, Tim’s journey into professional photography took a different path to the norm, “I actually pursued a career in architecture and interior design by obtaining a degree in graphic design, then a masters degree in architecture. I then spent the first 10 years of my professional career as an architectural designer, working across a range of residential and multi-residential projects.” During this time he kept being drawn to the final stage of creating a home - capturing it in still images for prosperity.
In 2019, Tim made the major professional pivot to photographing interiors rather than designing them (and all before ‘professional pivot’ became the trend de jour). “With my experience in architecture and a background producing and coordinating architectural renders, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to amalgamate all of my interests and skills, allowing me to view and capture spaces from a different perspective. So, I took the leap and began specialising in shooting architecture and interiors professionally.”
Of course, initially, Tim’s first few clients were the same people who knew him as an architectural designer, but gradually word of Tim’s talent spread and, “as I produced a body of work it started to connect with a range of like-minded architectural studios who needed their own work photographed.”
Now, just a short time later Tim has become the ‘go-to’ editorial photographer for some of Melbourne’s most well-known Architects and he has photographed an extremely broad range of architectural homes. We asked him to tell us about some of his favourites, “Whilst each and every project that I photograph has its unique characteristics and I’m constantly having “wow” moments, there are a few projects in particular that come to mind which have left me speechless. Considering my background in architecture, I’m drawn to particular projects that look to achieve harmony between materiality, form and light. Adam Kane’s ‘Barwon Heads House’ (above) for example, featured an incredible ‘compression and release’ moment that guides you through a dark portal into its overwhelming pitched ceiling space. The sheer scale of the timber-clad ceiling in that project as well as the highly-refined material palette and design details really complimented my style of photography.”
Of course, once Tim mentioned this home, where we had supplied all the window furnishings including sheer S-Fold curtains in James Dunlop, Laconia Air - Cloud, we couldn’t help but ask him what the secret was to capturing our products so beautifully in his images. He described how, “understanding the quality of light coming through the fabric and the flow of the material is key to photographing window furnishings. Sheer curtains, in particular, allow me to manipulate the quality of light; utilising the fabric to soften the light during a harsh lit day, or by adding another layer to the image by softening an otherwise harsh-edged room.”
Tim went on to describe another of his favourite projects “Bayside House” (below) by McCluskey Studio and Cera Stribley with its “complementary balance between old and new, Victorian Era characteristics, dark-stained-oak pivot door, light-filled master ensuite and a carved marble bath” so we asked if he still finds himself surprised when he steps into these incredible homes? His answer once again shows his true appreciation and love of light, “rather than just documenting a project for my clients, I’m always watching and studying the quality of the light throughout the day; looking to uncover a unique perspective of the project. Given that I’ll typically start shooting before sunrise and finish after sunset, I’m constantly amazed by the changing quality of light throughout the day. The mood and atmosphere within each space completely changes, offering a unique opportunity to tell a completely different story depending on the time of day that it’s photographed.”
Through Tim’s lens, it all seems so easy so we were curious to know which elements even he struggles to shoot, “direct harsh sunlight is typically one of the most difficult elements to capture in a photograph; especially when shooting a space that has strong lit areas with darker shaded spaces. My style of photography lends itself towards softer lighting conditions. Whilst there are particular spaces that I prefer shooting in direct sunlight, for the majority of my images, I prefer overcast conditions which allows me to capture the mood and atmosphere with softer shadows.”
Finally, we cheekily asked if he had any tips for us mere mortals - without a degree in design, a masters in architecture and a specialty for interior photography - when it comes to taking photos of our own homes. Tim said that the number one key tip for taking better photos is to “understand the quality of light” He encouraged us to step back, without our iPhone and “take a moment to understand where the light is coming from, where it falls, what shadows are being cast.” Once we have taken the time to do so he insists that just “being particular about what time of day you shoot will considerably improve your final image.”
All Images by Timothy Kaye