Marcia Prentice is the author of the new book How We Live. She is a photographer whose work can be seen in a variety of publications, including CA Home+Design Magazine. She is based in Los Angeles.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this book, and how did you choose the locations you photographed?
A: Before the idea for the book, I had photographed close to 100 homes of designers and artists in Los Angeles and had returned from a trip to Rome, Italy. I had never traveled outside my country and was very curious to explore more of the world.
When I was photographing the homes of creatives in Los Angeles I would often hear - “my style is inspired by Danish design or I am in love with Moroccan patterns, etc.” I wanted to visit the cities that inspire so many design styles around the world.
My ideal for choosing the cities for the book was to have a mix between the major design cities such as London, Milan, and New York City and more unexpected cities such as Mumbai and Beirut.
I wanted to compare the differences between how creative people live and work in different countries around the world. It was also a bit of a research project to see how the environment, politics, culture etc. influences a designer’s work and how he/she interacts with the city.
Q: How did you pick the specific people whose homes you focused on, and do you see any common themes among them?
A: I was very particular in selecting the designers and artists for the book. It was a very, very long research phase to find all the book subjects.
My requirements were that I had to like the designer or artist’s work and also their home. I wanted designers whose work was innovative, people who were invested in their city, and their homes reflected their personality, work and the culture of the city.
The common theme among the artists were their homes are soulful and their emotions are connected to their city.
Q: How difficult was it to select the images to use in the book, and what do you hope readers/viewers take away from these images?
A: Yes, of course, it was very difficult to select the photos for the book. My hope is that readers become captivated and curious for exploring cultures and countries that they may have not considered in the past. Also, I hope that readers would really realize how globally connected we are and how designers and artists are influencing and inspiring each other.
Q: You write that your “style captures the intersection of emotion and design in the home.” How do the two meet, and why does that especially interest you?
I studied interior design in school so I appreciate great design, but also a home is wildly personal and intimate. We have become accustomed to seeing people’s homes in design magazines around the world, but to get invited into someone’s home is a great honor.
Since I was a child I have felt and understood the emotion that encompasses the home. A home is a very special place and where someone is most vulnerable.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am preparing for another big project (can’t announce just yet) and also going through the process of obtaining Hungarian citizenship. I am very much looking forward to hopefully having dual citizenship and being a European Union citizen soon!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: My book was especially different than many photography books. Most famous photography books are a retrospective of the artist’s work. My book is an introduction to my work and based around a project. I am very young in my career and also young in age compared to authors of similar art books.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb