It seems that there are two schools of thought amongst magazine editors (and perhaps readers as well) about whether homeowners should be photographed in published interiors. There are those editors (and again, readers) who prefer that the focus of the article be strictly on the interiors. I suppose that if the homeowner is featured lounging on the sofa, for example, it might make it difficult for us to envision ourselves in that home. It's just like when you put your home on the market and the real estate agent tells you to rid all surfaces of family photographs; if you leave them out, you might lose a potential buyer.
On the other hand, there are those who want the interiors to have a face attached to them. Perhaps we are curious as to who lives there. Quite frankly, I see both sides of the coin and am fine either way. But what about staged photographs in which a model is shown, oh, I don't know, drinking cocktails or taking tea? You really don't see that too often anymore. In my trove of old magazines from the 30s and 40s, I found vignette shots in which actor and model types were shown doing various things that helped to emphasize what the photograph was all about. If the topic of the article was having drinks on the lanai, well then, people were shown drinking on the lanai. If the article was about a bridal shower, a so-called bride to be and her mother were photographed looking wistfully over a table set with china, silver, and other finery.
I have to say that I kind of like the idea of these types of photos. I totally understand why a magazine might avoid such shots; after all, one man's fantasy is another man's idea of hell. I would gloss right over a photo that showed someone tilling in a field, while my neighbor might stop and fantasize about owning land on which to till. But if the photo showed people in fancy dress? Well, I'd buy into the fantasy. And if someone was dolled up whilst sitting at a beautiful table? Yes, that photo would also set me off into a world of daydreaming. I guess we read into the photos what we want to.
If my home were photographed for a magazine, I would secretly wish that I could be photographed along with it while wearing a gorgeous outfit. I could be setting the table for a chic little dinner party (like that woman at the top of this post), or perhaps I could be sitting on my sofa drinking champagne along with my significant other, or even taking breakfast on my balcony (in my Fernando Sanchez robe, by the way- oh, and full makeup, of course.) Well, a girl can have her fantasies, can't she?
What? You don't dress like this while having "lunch in the country on a romantic June day"? (House & Garden, June 1948)
Please remind me never to be photographed doing housework. That is no fantasy of mine! (House & Garden, February 1948)
This woman was a bride...at least for the photo, she was. Life is good when you have that Queen Anne silver tea service, champagne coupes, and a hubby who looks so dapper. (House & Garden, October 1936)
The title of this article was "Roll Your Own"- and they were not advocating rolling your own funny cigarettes (come on, I know that is what you thought) but rather bar carts. Love those dresses. (House & Garden, July 1936)
Image at top from House & Garden, July, 1948