Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo Shoot at Oatlands

Author photos are always tough. You want to look your best, but not so good that you are unrecognizable. You want to seem authoritative, but approachable. Friendly but not giddy.

The bluebells reminded me of the ones I saw in England. Lovely, vibrant, fragile.
When my good friend and ace photographer Robin Templeton suggested we do a photo shoot, I was thrilled. I flew into the metro-DC area a couple of days before Malice Domestic and Festival of Mystery, so she and I could spend the day at Oatlands, a wheat plantation near Leesburg, Virginia. The gently rolling hills of Virginia are especially breath-taking in the spring. Beyond these farmlands, the Shenandoah mountains rise like sentinels.

To capture the mood of my upcoming series, The Jane Eyre Chronicles, I tried to dress in a manner reminiscent of all things "Jane," but I didn't want to look "costume-y." Robin had done careful research; the Oatlands was built in the early 19th century, the same period in which my new book, Death of a Schoolgirl, is set.

For most of the day, we trooped up and down in the gardens, observing and admiring. Since we're both visual people, our conversation was peppered with "What about this angle?" and "How about including this in the foreground?" Honestly, we had a blast!

I love the photos! In the weeks leading up to the release of Death of a Schoolgirl, I plan to post the pictures one at a time on Pinterest.

Do you have any suggestions for ways I can use these fabulous pictures? Do you think Robin is a genius? I sure do!


Dru said...

I like this picture.

Robin Templeton said...

Hey, Joanna! I'm so glad you like the photos. You and Oatlands were both gorgeous, cooperative subjects. I need to put my writer hat back on now, but let me know if you need any help with any crops, etc. I usually shoot a little wide to allow for multiple cropping options.

As for using the pictures, I loved how you immersed yourself in the atmosphere of Oatlands and the way you engaged with all of the early 1800s odds and ends around the estate. I felt like I WAS photographing a curious, sleuthing Jane Eyre! It will be fun to read the stories you'll spin from the experience. What's behind the gate? Where's the key to the lock? Is that Hellebore in the garden? Could there be a poisoning involved? I can't wait!

You're a delight, dear friend. When I'm in England in a few weeks, I'll see if I can track down a few other Jane Eyre haunts for you. Thanks for inviting me into your adventure! Robin

Julie said...

Yes, Robin is a genius, but she had good material to work with, you gorgeous thing, you. I have one author photo that I really like, but it was taken when I was 32. I'm no longer 32, and though I'd really like to use that photo, it would be cheating. Sigh.

Camille Minichino said...

I would have called this "flattering" except that I just saw you at Malice, so I have to say that it hardly does you justice!

Still, a lovely photo!

Betty Hechtman said...

It's a lovely photo. I completely agree with all the things you said about what kind of photo to use. Ideally, I think the best photo is one that captures the person's personality. Not an easy thing to do.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Julie, it's not so much about cheating as it is about people not being able to recognize you! If they can, the photo is fine.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Robin, you made the magic happen. Your choice of setting was superb. Travel safely, my dear friend.

Mollie Bryan said...

Love these pictures! Your look stunning--as usual! And I love the Oatlands. The gardens there are magnificent.