Heather-Mary Jackson, stylist and co-founder of Brownstone Cowboys, on the view from her bedroom to her living room.
GB Tell me why you chose this.
HMJ I keep taking pictures of this same view as lovely light comes through the window at different times of day.
GB Is it that fundamental feeling of being at home that makes it so beautiful to you?
HMJ I think it probably is. I’ve lived here for a really long time now, the majority of my time here in New York. I like my things. I love the green sofa in the picture. I spend a lot of time at home so I photograph it a lot.
GB Is it interior designed? Do you pay a lot of attention to the way it’s organised?
HMJ Yes, I like to change it around – although I’m not into interior design. I like things like a colourful $20 Assan rug or old things. I’m not into new things.
GB Is the picture on the wall by your son, William?
HMJ No, that was a present from Secret, William’s best friend. It’s a picture of me. I put it there and never took it down.
GB Do you think home is more important to you because you moved so far away from your native New Zealand?
HMJ Maybe that’s what it is. It is really important to me and more so as I’ve gotten older and had a child. I don’t like going out that much anyway but it’s important that my house feels right and I have everything I need, just how I like it. I found this place on Craigslist. I took it on the spot. I just wrote a cheque as soon as I saw it. Sometimes I battle with the energy of the place. A lot has happened here, some things I’d like to move away from, but in New York you get locked into a place. Although I can make any space my own. Energy is a big thing for me. At least the good times outweigh the bad here for me. I’ve cleared out belongings and artworks that I don’t want to see any more.
GB Do you usually find beauty more in everyday things?
HMJ Yes, I love furniture and textiles, especially old things like leather-covered boxes. I definitely like ‘things’! Recently I went to Lola Kirke’s house because I was shooting her with Richard Kern. Her house was so perfect. My assistant said that it’s because it’s like my house but not my house. I’d be very happy living there.
GB Does beauty come up much in your work? Do people ask you to make people beautiful?
HMJ Beautiful? People don’t use the word much! I use it but a lot of shots aren’t supposed to be beautiful in a way. There’s a lot of androgyny and I like fashion that’s practical, that translates from runway to store. Although nowadays I might not pay $1500 for a ‘practical’ looking sweater. There are people living in Cartier and Chanel and sleeping in their cars!
GB You’ve always been close to the art world and curated a few shows. Do you see much beauty in contemporary art?
HMJ I can’t say I see too much but when I do it blows me away. The last thing I saw that was beautiful was Nick Cave’s exhibition. There were Golliwogs and Afghan blankets piled up really high, and a Burberry coat with loads of gold watches on the inside.
GB But did you think it was a cool statement to make or really find it beautiful?
HMJ I really did find it beautiful. We all had Golliwogs as kids then they were banned for being racist. I bought some for Brownstone Cowboys. But now fashion and art are so intertwined I find I’m often almost repulsed to look. It’s partly because of the commercial aspect but also because everyone wants to be cool and do everything. Whatever someone was before, now they’re an artist as well. Maybe that’s a good thing. I like Home Alone gallery who do affordable art like the Larry Clarke show where everything was $100. Nick Cave’s show was all made from recycled stuff but just had some good ideas.
GB Do you think there are any qualities that make a fashion photograph a work of art, rather than just context?
HMJ No. If it’s a good image it’s worthy of being on the wall.
GB What makes something worthy of the word Beauty to you?
HMJ It needs to make me feel good. It has a lot to do with light. In Alabama I see a lot of lovely light, especially when I’m driving. It’s also very dependent on my mood. Everybody sees different things. You can walk side by side with someone on the street and have such different perspectives.