text by SHANI SILVER
photography by THE HEIRLOOMIST
Rethink the way you see heirlooms. In fact, rethink what you consider heirlooms. Shana Novak, founder,The Heirloomist, created a craft that captures possessions in stunning still life photography, forever preserving your treasure. Here, Shana shares with us a bit more behind how The Heirloomist came to be, and how it just might change how you view coveted objects–forever.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THE HEIRLOOMIST?
My Grandmother kept the best collection of family objects–from fine silver candelabras all the way down to my Grandfather’s gold teeth fillings. She had a story for every single object. I am a still life photographer by trade so it was natural to want to express stories through photographs. It was my girlfriend who helped me realize the fun I could have doing this for other people’s family heirlooms. And The Heirloomist was born.
WHAT ITEMS OF YOUR OWN HAVE YOU TURNED INTO WORKS OF ART?
My pastel pink Swiss Army pocket knife from summer camp, circa 1986, and my Nintendo Gameboy, circa 1989. I encourage my clients to let go of the expected definition of “heirloom”. The “personal heirloom” is a great example of that. Anything goes.
WHAT IS THE BEST REACTION YOU’VE RECEIVED TO THE HEIRLOOMIST SO FAR?
Last week I was working with client who was having a hard time deciding which object to shoot. We went back at forth at length and we got into a lot of debate. We went forward with an object of his choosing and when he got his print, he sent me an email and all it said was “It’s perfect”.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU WHEN WORKING WITH CLIENTS?
Getting the print onto the wall is the biggest challenge. I make this really personal piece of art for someone and then the inner interior designer in me ends up feeling really responsible for getting the piece to work just right in their space. I have clients all over the country so it’s not realistic to be at every installation. Solution: we recently started working with Framebridge, which I think will give my clients and I a chance to collaborate.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
My absolute favorite thing about being The Heirloomist is shooting an object that is an “heirloom” only because the owner says it is. Case in point: a few months ago, I shot a pair of jeans that saved someone from a fire.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT THE HEIRLOOMIST?
“Materialism” and “sentimental” are bad words at The Heirloomist. We’re here to give an object a life beyond it’s material existence. We’re here to celebrate the stories that make us who we are today. And we came here to have fun.