When it came to commissioning some fresh frames for our new website, we knew we wanted to collaborate with someone who could bring an equally fresh perspective. Enter photographer and stylist Kelsey + Michelle, AKA Terrence Caviar. As the shoot wrapped and the cute salami met its faithful end our Creative Director Daniel Ioannou sat with the duo to chat.
Let's start at the top;
Hi, what are your names?
Kelsey McClellan (KM)
Michelle Maguire (MM)
Can you tell us how you both met? Was it love at first sight? (this isn't a dating show BTW, but it can be ;p )
(MM) My husband Aaron and Kelsey worked together back around 2013, so I met Kelsey at a company happy hour. Shortly after that I got to prop style some photos for an ice cream book that she was shooting, and I’ve been wanting to work in tandem ever since.
(KM) Yes the book was our first project together but it ended too quickly so we kept meeting up just to shoot for fun - none of it ever felt like work, it was just fun and rewarding play. A true love match indeed.
Can we take a minute to talk about your alter ego Terrence Caviar… where did this come from? Tell us everything.
(KM) Michelle came up with it along with many many other equally great alternatives. I love that it's masculine and just a food that would be a killer last name.
(MM) The name came to me during a very silly euchre game. A couple years later, Kelsey’s sister jokingly called us Mike Fish Eggs, for those days when Terrence Caviar is in the mood to dress things down. I love Mike Fish Eggs.
Can you describe what your typical creative/collaboration process looks like?
(MM) It’s a similar process whether it’s a commission or a personal project: first we settle on an idea that we both agree sounds exciting to create, Kelsey sketches, I pull things from my props/materials stash, we throw it all into a deck that lives digitally on Google drive, and we keep tweaking it until everything feels right. Then we meet up physically (because I’m in Ohio and Kelsey’s in California) and hunt together for several days leading up to the shoot, and I feel so lucky every single time that this is what I get to call “work”.
It's clear you're both very in sync when you work together; has it always been like that?
(KM) Sure has, we are both very detailed and organized and most importantly both just like to have a good time and enjoy what we do.
(MM) We have a great deal of trust and ease with one another. It’s very nice. When we’re together I feel like anything is possible.
What/where do you look for inspiration?
(KM) My neighborhood, places that feel frozen in time, taste that I can't figure out but love, great design that a designer could never do, music made by people that give their lives to it, interesting and unexpected color combinations.
(MM) Hardware stores, grocery stores, airports, botanical gardens, museum and department store displays, restaurant interiors, table settings, food presentation that isn’t fussy, handwriting, DIY signage, early seasons of Columbo, domestic spaces, the arrangement and style of one’s workshop or studio, getting close to paintings, acts of kindness, tenderness, affection, resilience.
We chatted a little bit on set about how you 'sourced' props from some pretty interesting places. What's the most random place you've found a prop, and what was it?
(KM) Are you referring to the Clam House spoon that somehow made its way into my pocket after my cioppino? I would call it kismet.
(MM) Nine or so years ago my husband and I spent a month driving around Texas and brought home a beautiful tumbleweed that I’d chased down the road somewhere in the high desert. Most of the stuff I grab is things I wanna live with, or things that hold nice memories or sentiments that I wish to hang onto, which eventually make their way into photos.
There were some pretty iconic prop descriptions on set – long live the “cute” salami – What's the best adjective you've ever used or heard to describe something you're styling/shooting?
(KM) I love describing things as bashful if it's only partially revealed.
(MM) Ooh yes! Shy.
In the least creepy way, we've been watching both for a while, and we were so excited to work with you. Is there anyone you have your eyes on at the moment? Is anyone making magic that we should start stalking too?
(MM) Keirnan and Theo for sure! Also, Ruth van Beek.
What's the one brand, place, product, or inanimate object you're dying to shoot/style?
(MM) I would croak if we got an assignment to illustrate foley arts/sound effects. Close-ups of faces in performance at a symphony. A trip to Italy to work with @pastagrannies. We’d also love to shoot a book together — be it food/recipes, or items found in personal collections, or items that live in an archive/research collection. Unearthing things that live in bins and letting them out to strut their stuff.
(KM) I’d love to be plopped down somewhere (say, a rural neighborhood in Japan) with a bag of mystery objects (Orthopedic shoes? Fancy handbags? Lamps?) and be told to just shoot it however we want. Like some kind of dream game show. I can be an obsessive planner so I love being forced to improvise because I usually am happy with what happens!
If you could choose the next new emoji, what would it be?
(KM) How can there currently be a salt shaker but no pepper? It's bad manners.
(MM) A puffy recliner.
Anything else that we should know about Kelsey + Michelle? Your fave colors, fave people, last for digits of your social security number?
(KM) Orange with green are my eternal favorites, and lavender with poppy red - power combos. And you didn't ask for advice but I think everyone should swim in the ocean as much as possible if they are near one.
(MM) So many colors. Lately I’ve been feeling a muted tangerine. I love people who don’t take themselves too seriously. People who love to send things in the mail. I also love a tinkerer.