Photographer Lust: James Merrell


I spend a lot of time looking at photographers’ portfolios to get ideas for clients and for my own home. And sometimes I come across one that just bowls me over. That happened yesterday when I discovered the website of British photographer James Merrell. His work has a raw, deconstructed quality about it, as though you’ve stepped through a secret door and happened upon a world abandoned in time. Just look at the window in the image above—have you ever seen peeling paint look so gorgeous?


The pale, faded mint on the walls, the pink silk curtain, the ethereal glow of light through the window…it’s like Auntie Maim got up to put the kettle on and never came back. And in terms of styling, this photo is a perfect example of how to mix old (the paneled wallpaper) and new (that chair!).


Deep tufted velvet, intricate carvings on the wall—this room is the picture of faded masculinity. Which makes that pink swan chair all the more fabulous! And if you’re digging the lamp on the right (which I am) Z Gallerie has an almost identical one on sale right now…


Remember the secret door I was talking about? If only I had a portal to a coat and tote bag that chic. Isn’t it amazing how the orange trim on the jacket pops against all those rustic neutrals? And the net, the rope, the crochet of the bag…the texture in this shot captivates me.


I’ve often wondered about the practicality of having a chalkboard wall in one’s house; it seems like it would create a lot of dust. This photo makes me want to find out. Though I think that knowing my husband, there would be fewer math equations and more poop jokes written on ours. (Okay, who am I kidding? It would be me writing the poop jokes…)


Words escape me on this one. I just stare at it and sigh wistfully.


And the coup de grace. I WANT this wallpaper! I’d switch out the real deer head for something more tongue-in-cheek like this faux resin one (again from Z Gallerie! So impressed with them right now!) but I love the magical fairy tale forest feel of this. Merrell has tons more beautiful images—but only check out his website if you have several hours to spend drooling…


4 Responses to “Photographer Lust: James Merrell”

  1. Chris Says:

    I really like the lighting in these. Very quiet and still, like you said. Like someone had just been there. Wonderful!

  2. JMowe Says:

    Oh yeah! I have the picture of that bathroom in my file! Does this mean I have good taste?

  3. The City Sage Says:

    Chris—it is so much about the lighting, isn’t it? I’m fascinated by how photographers can capture a mood or a feeling using something as intangible as the quality of the light.
    Jen—I’m SO glad you like this bathroom! It’s exactly the sort of photos I’ve been pulling for you! So calm and serene, fresh and contemporary, yet still appropriate for the feel of your old home—I can totally see this type of treatment in your bathroom!

  4. jora Says:

    These are stunningly beautiful photos! They are almost surreal and dream-like.

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