THE PHOTOGRAPhY of Exteriors
Interior and architectural photography automatically conjures up the idea of recently constructed buildings, residential or commercial, as well as the renovation of bedrooms and living rooms.
Haute'Xposure photographs not only the outdoor work of interior designers and architects but also collaborates with garden designers and exterior architects. Furthermore, exteriors are the selling point for rental and sales properties; regardless of whether they are perfectly manicured gardens in France's Armagnac region or meadows filled with wild flowers and grasses in the mountains of Valais in Switzerland.
Alongside managing the interior of the Swiss chalets in the alpine ski resort, Verbier Estate Management is responsible for many of the gardens of the same chalets. Photographing the gardens with head gardener, Chris Rowley, is a different perspective to everyday chalet interior photography in Verbier.
After watering the pretty pink geraniums, he picks out the dead heads from the window boxes to ensure that these hardworking flowers remain the perfect remedy to the pesky flies of summer.
Sky blue alpine flowers and colourful meadow flowers soak up the sunshine; whereas the bright green hostas seek shelter under the spiky evergreen pines.
Water features, garden sculptures and wooden fences add depth and structure to these otherwise indigenous and wild gardens.
The extensive gardens at Chateau Séailles are a delight to explore and of course to photograph the landscape.
Arriving at the chateau, there is a winding path through parallel trees which opens up into pebble-stone drive. The walls of the various buildings that comprise the chateau are lined with box hedges and planters filled with brightly coloured flowers and citrus trees
Directly below the chateau, a gallo-roman bathing pool fills up the vista alongside forestland, armagnac and sunflower fields. Behind the weeping willow that ducks into the waters, a Pigeonnier, otherwise known as a dovecote in English, is accessible over a little wooden bridge.
A luscious herb garden just off of the kitchen is filled with the refreshing scent of citronnelle, basil, rosemary and all those fabulous aromatic aromas of French cuisine. Vegetables and fruits fill planter boxes and terrace pots; bergamot and other citrus plants line these ancient castle walls seemingly holding it upright.
The second pond on the estate is the swimming pool to the chateau's resident dog. Griffon, a wirehaired pointing griffon, plays amongst the small (temporary) fountain and Monet's lily pads. So much more pleasant than the actual swimming pool where the original orangerie provides shade from the strong afternoon sun of the Gers.
Gardens at altitude are easier to maintain as the alpine wild vibe is fairly self-sufficient.
However, the extreme winter temperatures and heavy snowfalls impact gardens in other ways; fences need to be repaired even replaced; terraces are to be frequently re-varnished; walls need to be rebuilt and plants collapse.
As a result of this frequent and annual garden maintenance, garden photography allows management companies such as Verbier Estate Management a way to record and share their work as well as to keep up to date with changes in the landscape itself.