Landscapes into portraits

ManicuredVisionsCrownConferenceCentreBoardwalk3

Jacqui Henshaw’s photography has been on the radar of leading interior designers, graphic designers, architects, publishers, advertising art directors and property developers for more than two decades.

Impressively, Henshaw is one of the few commercial photographers in Melbourne also to attract a strong audience for her fine-art photography.

Her large-scale Manicured Visions piece at four metres wide by two metres high was selected by Bates Smart for the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne. The series has been equally popular with private collectors buying on a smaller scale for their homes.

The beauty of imperfection inspires Henshaw’s art. “My Manicured Visions series explores the perception of surface reality and our inner world through the medium of landscape and still life.”

Recently, clients have sought out Henshaw and commissioned her to capture their own landscapes, or “visions”. Late last year she showed her portfolio to Josephine Robson, whose family has a riverside property near Kyneton. 

Robson loved Henshaw’s layered work. The idea for the commission was that Henshaw would find an image on Robson’s property, and give it the strong, layered treatment of her Manicured Visions series.

However, Henshaw noticed the clients were drawn to her classic, intimate black-and-white images. For a few weeks, Henshaw visited the property, arriving at dawn to shoot at first light and then at other times to capture a look with the sun in different positions. 

“On this beautiful project, walking around the property at dawn was really magical. I could capture early morning frost and the blue crispness of the light. I could even see the patterns of the newly mown lawn. 

“It was also spring, so the landscape was changing every two days. It is very exciting to shoot projects like this. I like to visit a site at least three to four times at different times of the day to explore the full range of light and moods.”

For each commission Henshaw presents 10-15 images to each client. For the Kyneton project, Robson selected an image of their jetty taken at first light. At first it looks like a classic landscape scene, but it is an intimate portrait of the heart of the property. 

Robson’s son fishes on the jetty and it is also a place where a recently blended family gathers to quietly sit or play about near the river. The final artwork will be produced at 1.1 metres high and 1.4 metres wide and will ultimately adorn the wall of their home on the property and may move to their new city apartment.  

“We were looking for a piece of art that would capture the essence of beauty of our property: the subject matter, the colour, the light, but most of all to evoke a sense of serenity. (Jacqui) certainly achieved this,” Robson says.

Henshaw says the process of capturing a private landscape crystallised things for her.

“In a way, it is an extension of my portrait work. It is an honour to be in someone’s personal space. It is a really intimate garden environment, which the family has spent many hours nurturing,” she says.

“It’s a combined artwork with myself and the client.”

Henshaw is quick to point out that she doesn’t merely shoot acreage. “Everyone has special collections … maybe I’ll shoot an amazing still life. For instance I collect John Paul Gaultier perfume bottles, others collect silver or glass.” 

She says she would love to do another project in a city home or garden, perhaps to capture memories of a beloved family garden and home before the family downsizes. Recent commissions include a detailed shot of autumn leaves for The Quays project at Docklands for architects and interior designers McBride Charles Ryan, a client’s favourite tree in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens and a trilogy of images from Ferndale Park, Ferndale Track and Nettleton Reserve in Glen Iris for the Iris Apartments development. 

While many clients would like their artwork displayed as an archival print on a wall, Henshaw has also printed her images onto glass, perspex, wallpaper and even as a mosaic onto tiles. 

The cost of an original commission of one image within two hours of Melbourne is $5000, unframed. The client sees all the photos and agrees to what can and can’t be reproduced. If the client is happy for Henshaw to add the work into her portfolio, the price is $2500 unframed, and Henshaw may sell a limited edition of the image. A package fee can be arranged.

Jacqui Henshaw is represented in Sydney by Jacinta Preston Design and in rural Victoria by Belleholme, Kyneton. She exhibits at Edmund Pearce Gallery in Melbourne. See www.jkhenshaw.com, email Jacqui@jkhenshaw.com or call 0409 391 934.

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