while shooting our december catalog in utah, photographer chrissy piper also took some behind the scenes photos that are almost as beautiful as the ones in the catalog! these photos are moody and magical and i want to be there. right now.
candy dreams all year long of a white christmas and counts down the days until its time to decorate for the holidays. tradition is important to her and even hanging ornaments on the tree is special to her as each ornament holds sentimental value, reminding her of her childhood and years passed. on the weekend she’ll put on christmas carols and fill her home with the scents of cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg as she bakes cookies and then walks from door to door offering them to her neighbors.
she loves nothing more than giving gifts to her loved ones, and when it comes to receiving, her favorite gifts are the ones that are the most thoughtful and meaningful.
get to know our amazing december catalog photographer, chrissy piper!
How did you first get involved with free people?
I had a friend who worked on the team that did in-store installations for Anthropologie. She mentioned that my work seemed perfect for Free People. Soon after that, I brought my book in to meet with Carrie (our videographer). At the time I shot mostly music (my book had portraits of Cat Power, Evan Dando, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Paul Westerberg, etc.) so we sat there nerding out on music for a long time. Not long after they booked me for my first shoot :)
When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
I’d say pretty early on. As a kid my Mom would give me her camera (without film in it) to walk around taking pictures. One day the camera stopped winding. When I went in to ask my Mom about it, she realized that there had been a roll of film in the camera. When the film came back from the lab, there were lots of photos of one trash can, shot from all different angles. She asked me what I was taking a photo of and my response– “I was waiting for Oscar to pop out.” So, I think wanting to be a photographer has always been inside of me.
What kind of camera do you use? Do you always have a camera on you?
The camera I use more than anything is my Leica M4. I love it and for me, nothing really compares. When shooting something that needs a quick turnaround or digital, I use a Canon Mark II or 5D Mark II.
Yep, I always have a Yashica T4 in my little bag!
Who are some of your personal favorite photographers?
There are so many! Always inspired by others– Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, David Bailey, John Heartfield, Sylvia Plachy, Tim Walker.
the photographer at work, shooting our december book.
How was your experience shooting the Free People catalog?
I love shooting with the Free People crew. I feel like Doub (our creative director) and I share a really similar vision of the shoot and it’s just really great (and inspiring) to bounce ideas off of one another. We all worked really hard but had a great time doing it! I also love the girls that were casted for this shoot. They were both very confident as well as (naturally) beautiful.
Is there a particular shot in the catalog that you love most?
I love the center photo of Martha standing in the road. She just looks so bad ass to me!
How would you describe your personal style? Do you have a favorite item from our December catalog?
My “style” is pretty much Tom Boy with a few “girly” essentials! There were so many clothes (and boots) on this shoot that I wanted!!!
I can’t tell you how many times my assistant Autumn and I were like “I WANT THAT!” The red leather jacket Martha is wearing on the motorcycle is amazing as well as the black crotchet dress. Oh and I’ll take all of the boots in the catalog!!!
I loved your three records show and thought the whole concept was awesome! What are the three records that changed and/or inspired your life?
Thank you! The Three Records Zine has been like my baby for years so it means the world when people really get it.
Here are my records from the first issue:
Where do you live? What are your favorite things to do there?
I currently live in Los Angeles. Most of my time is spent in bookstores (Skylight and Family books) or the Pacific Ocean (surfing).
here’s some more of chrissy’s work:
tomboy photographer into music, bookstores and surfing? a girl after my own heart :) check out her website here, and view our december catalog here.
Ever since I was young I’ve always been intrigued by crafty items and intricate detail. I remember the sensation of watching my Grandma and Mam knit… when the dark wintery nights drew in they used to set up in front of the fireplace with me cuddled under their arms, It was a relaxing, soft feeling watching them at work.
I used to stare at their hands moving so fast, fascinated with the pattern that was rolling from underneath the needles. Ever since, crochet has continued to excite me.
Can you believe the earliest evidence of crochet goes back no further than the 1800′s when it became popular in Europe. During this period crochet was used as a less costly substitute to create the similar effect that lace has, and if you ask me… I would say the outcome is a little more endearing!
Crochet remained popular through the mid 1970, and then declined a little, but now it has made its way back into 21th century with a huge bang — now the technique is being used on runway shows and in new, fresh fashion forward ways that continue to impress!
Working at Free People is like heaven for me as the knit team here is so crafty, I often find myself drifting upstairs to investigate their new creations – they never disappoint!!
I am over the moon right now… we have just launched a BIG crochet story that was strongly promoted in our December catalog. It’s a great look to invest in as it one of those old world charms that will never die!
if you aren’t familiar with the soundtrack to the film easy rider, it is probably one of the best compilations of classic sixties tunes out there. i couldn’t help myself from including some of the songs from it in this december playlist, inspired by our catalog, easy rider, the open road and freedom.
our team drew inspiration for the attitude and styling of our december catalog from the classic sixties film easy rider, starring peter fonda and dennis hopper as bikers traveling the american southwest in search of freedom. the film explores the counterculture of the 1960s and alternative lifestyles that rose out of it, and in its optimistic, ambitious beginning and tragic end, seems to mirror the counterculture movement itself.
the american southwest, with its vast open landscape, represents an unexplored frontier full of possibilities. it is this essence that has drawn so many to “go west” in search of freedom and a new life, and what drew our team to the dramatic beauty of utah. the expansive desert, massive rock formations and majestic canyons, the southwestern US landscape is some of the only land in the country that looks untouched by man. the only backdrop suitable for the themes of exploration, independence and of course, freedom.
to capture the attitude and style of easy rider our team used hard-edged denim, leather and suede to toughen up girly lace and crochet. denim on denim, paisley scarves, western shirts, suede hats, biker boots, fringe and that amazing red leather jacket ooze with the easy rider spirit. oversized utility bags complete the look of a girl gone wandering, seeking adventure and captivated by the beauty that unfolds before her eyes.
for more feminine inspiration there’s sixties icon marianne faithfull in the film the girl on a motorcycle, in which she plays a woman who leaves her husband and takes off on her bike to visit her lover, her motorcycle representing freedom and escape.
this trend has left me longing to take a motorcycle ride up the california coast with the sun on my face and wind in my hair…
we’re doing another giveaway – this time on twitter!
a lot of you have been asking about the amazing saddle bag on the back of the motorcycle on the cover of our december catalog. this one of a kind piece was made in india, using the same antique quilts used in many of our store displays and embellished with studs and leather fringe. this bag has seen some wear and tear but that just makes it look even cooler! can you imagine having this on the back of your bike?!?
to win all you have to do is head over to our twitter page and tweet a story or memory involving a motorcycle @ us with this link: http://ow.ly/3kGYq. if you don’t already, make sure you follow us on twitter so you don’t miss out on fun stuff like this!
i thought this one was pretty cute:
“im secretly in love with my boyfriend’s motorcycle & i pretend to ride it while it’s stationed in the garage.”
the winner will be selected at random on friday. good luck!
a couple of weeks ago i popped into our web studio and found this scene: stunning model elsa hosk striking pose after flawless pose, and our stylist and studio intern crouched on the floor scooping up fistfuls of glitter and tossing them into the air. just another day at the office!
they were shooting our december lookbook which is up online now and i suggest you go see – i swear they keep getting better and better and this one is perfection. see it here.
our december catalog was shot at the amangiri resort in utah by photographer chrissy piper, featuring models martha hunt and izzy marshall. shades of brown and rust to highlight the earthy landscape with pops of turquoise, and delicate crochet and lace roughened up with biker boots and suede. the catalog was inspired by easy rider attitude and freedom of the open road and as i look through its pages i can’t help but hear the plucking of guitar strings and neil young’s voice…
“somewhere on a desert highway, she rides a harley davidson, her long blonde hair flyin’ in the wind, she’s been runnin’ half her life, the chrome and steel she rides, colliding with the very air she breathes…”
i first came across the work of ben weiner on the blog oracle fox and thought they were photos, but in fact they’re all oil on paper, linen or canvas. i think it’s amazing how he is able to incorporate photographic elements- like the light reflecting off of pearls and different areas being in and out of focus – into his paintings. see more of his work here.