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Pie Archive: Book Theory

Yes, I read on a Kindle but I will forever love books of all kinds and admit I am drawn to the design sometimes more than the content. I am especially drawn to vintage cloth bindings. I acquired this rare find at the Metrolina last weekend. Published in 1911 with a cover designed by Bertha Stuart and illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy.

Miss Stuart was known for working in the Japonism style which was very popular at the turn of century. This Minsky Gallery shows many more examples of beautiful bindings done during this period.


Spring is for Reading! 

If you enjoy my blog then there is a good chance you will love these books. I've combined two previous book crush posts to create a kind of ultimate Spring reading list. First there is Eleanor Rushing, an odd little character plagued with a delusional disorder called Erotomania. Funny, heart wrenching and just the slightest bit creepy.


One of my all time favorite books is Geek Love, which has had many cover incarnations and was once a rumored David Lynch film project. Katherine Dunn's mesmerizing way with words kept me fully drawn into her odd but fascinating world of circus freaks.  


Then there is The Giant's House, maybe my favorite love story of all time. It is about changing one's expectations and discovering an unconventional love as a result. I actually gave a copy as a wedding shower gift to a friend once, I loved it that much. 



Three more favorites to check out.

  • The Queen's Gambit: One of my all time favorite books and one of the very few I've read more than once. It is the story of a female chess prodigy. Vivid and compelling, it is written by the amazing Walter Tevis.
  • Of Bees and Mist: A modern fairytale which takes place in an unnamed land with numeorous interesting characters. It is a tale of love, mystery and magic.
  • The Thirteenth Tale: I read this a few months ago and really enjoyed this layered tale about a writer on a journey of mystery and discovery. 



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Kawaii Bunnies



Hoppy Easter!




Dresses & Styling: Lesley Evers, Models: Kyra, Malia, Lily & Jesse, H&M by Tahni Smith, Music by Blossom Dearie

all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Camera Roll

Old School Ford


Me Mum


Library in Montrose, California


Team Mia




Harvest Farmer's Market


Staying warm between shots.


Recent estate sale loot... all totaled: $15!


Atticus likes to sleep in.


A rare gathering of cumulus clouds in Pasadena. 


Follow me on Instagram and if you comment on any photo and let me know you found me via Pie, I'll follow you back!


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Kawaii Corner

The trickiest area for me to work with when I set up my new apartment was the wall facing the end of my bed. In part because this is also where I wanted to put my one and only TV and also because the door opens in & against this wall. My solution was to hang this groovy cubby shelve I found at Pottery Barn and then to paint the door a nice minty green to create balance. It also gave me a place to display some of my collectibles. I chose this bold pattern chair for underneath which was on sale at Target.

I Orla-fied this off the rack find with an easy DIY project. I first photographed a postcard I had with a favorite Orla pattern, then I printed them out exactly to size (5x5) on my inkjet printer using a good matte paper. Then just cut them out and affix them to the inside with double stick tape. Easy Peasy! 



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Pie Archive ❀ I ♥ Lucille 

I had the good fortune of booking this stunning model from Sweden, when she was briefly in NY. The assignment was a dream gig, a stylized beauty & lingerie shoot for Marshall Field's.

As I went through my files, I was surprised to find a few rolls of color, I don't remember even shooting. Something I would have done on my own dime becuase I loved the images.

The assignment was black & white and the shoot was not so much about specific products as it was about mood.


When I shot for this client, I had to send my film unprocessed to their labs in Minneapolis and sometimes never even saw what I shot. However, I knew this shoot was special, so I requested te film returned after they were done. 

 I got to do another really cool shoot with her for them while she was in town but could not get that film back, I forget why. I remember shooting some amazing Marlene Dietrich style images with a black beret and thinly drawn eyebrows. Sadly, some things really are lost and never found.




all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Common Law Family

When I was 8 years old we moved into a large duplex apartment in Los Angeles on Detroit Street on the outskirts of Hancock Park. Little did we know at the time that a family across the street would become an integral part of all our lives and eventually part of our family. Sam and Renee above are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend and their daughter has been married to my brother going on 32 years! Not a bad record. Happy Anniversary Sam & Renee!



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol



I have discovered Instagram is a little like crack for me, it should be called "Instacrack" but I digress. Above is just a small sampling of my recent postings. Please have a cup of the kool aid and follow me at @rossignolfoto.


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Pie Archive ❀ Goodbye Mr. Swayze

In honor of St. Patricks Day, I thought I'd resurrect this post about one of my favorite Patricks. Enjoy!


I wish I could remember the exact date, I do know it was the early 90's when I got the assignment to photograph Patrick Swayze. It was a cover shoot for The Cable Guide, which though a small outfit, paid well and flew me via the fabled MGM Grand Airlines to L.A. for the shoot. The art director was great and very open to letting me just do my thing. I was not really a fan of Swayze's but I had really liked Ghost and at this time he was pretty huge. I shot at Smashbox studios and was very impressed that he showed up solo with no entourage in tow. It made sense though, as I soon learned he was just a very nice, down to earth man who was also patient and willing to try anything I suggested, not always the case when working with celebrities.



Most know he has had a long battle with cancer, which he sadly lost earlier this week at the age of 57. I went into my file cabinet and pulled the file I have from the shoot. I have not looked at them in at least six or seven years and was actually amazed at how much we had shot. I do not even remember the sweatshirt set up above. The top shot was scanned from a color slide, an image I remember loving but I am sure has never been published. As I believe is the case with most of these. It came from the same set up below and I think the progression you can see in the proof sheet is interesting. 




He was even game enough to dawn some vintage cowboy gear and walk over to the nearby Rae's Restaurant, a legendary Santa Monica diner with classic signage.



I may not have been a fan before I met Patrick but I certainly was one after. Because of my work I am privileged to meet some unique and talented people. The challenge is to capture something of what makes them so in an image. It can be an intimate tug of war while you work to gain the subject's trust. In a few rare cases, such as Patrick, the subject gives even more of themselves than is fair to ask...


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Crazy for Cronuts

Unless your cave is devoid of an internet connection, then by now you have probably heard of the "cronut".  Invented by Chef Dominique Ansel it is a hybrid creation that merges a donut with a croissant. People wait for hours in line at his Spring Street bakery and pay $5 a pop to get their hands on them. It has started a cronut craze across the country and there are now several places here in So Cal making their own variations.

I happened on them by chance at Foster's, a local, better than average but by no means gourmet donut shop. This just illustrates how wide spread this trend is becoming. Their version looks more donut than croissant but once you bite in you can see the flaky layers created by the croissant dough. I found it very tasty and far more dense than a normal donut. They have just two flavors, a basic glazed style above and also a cinnamon sugar variation. They make them just once a day in the mornings so once they'er gone that's it. At just $2.50 each, they tend to run out quick, especially on the weekends. 


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Spring Win!

Get in on this super kawaii giveaway from my fantastic client Lesley Evers! Win a $250 gift certificate and help your friends discover this very groovy designer. All you have to do is:

1. follow Lesley on facebook,

2. like this post

3. share it on your own wall

Follow, like & share! It's that easy! One grand prize winner will be chosen at random, plus three additional winners will get special surpise gifts hand picked by Lesley. The window to enter closes this Monday! Also check out her newest spring collection, we are working hard to keep it fresh and fun. 


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol



I was recently contacted by a student who likes my work and wanted to interview me for a thesis project she's working on. I was happy to help her out and thought she sent some very interesting questions worth sharing here. Thanks Olivia!


  • How did you get your start as a professional photographer? 
                Photography is a science as well as an art and I believe you have to learn the science first in order to be free to really create your vision. This was especially true back when I started when film was the only option, so I went to a very good commercial art school, Art Center College of Design. In my last semester I was referred to a photo rep (an agent for photographers) who took me on and I actually started getting work before I even graduated. I was very tenacious and I admit a bit clueless whiched I think actually helped a lot. I have been working steadily ever since.

  •  I really enjoy photographing inanimate objects, but people...not so much. What do you enjoy photographing most and why?
               I began shooting portraits and fashion almost exclusively but in the last few years have added food, still lives and even interiors to my reportage. I find I am attracted to character, light and design which can come in the form of a person, dress, building or even a donut. It is really all about what inspires you.
  • So much work must go into publishing a magazine. Could you walk me through the steps of working with magazine photo editors?
            I believe that a good editor hires the right person for the job, so that the process is easy. You do need to have very good communication with the editor, esp. since in most cases they will not be present at the shoot. Ask a lot of questions. I always make sure to try and full fill what they have expressed they want for the shoot and then will work in my own variations and ideals. With editorial you are usually exchanging some monetary compensation for a certain degree of creative input. Do not be afraid to offer up your own ideals and to implement these as long as they get the job done. 
             Most important, be professional. Always reply quickly to emails & calls and turn your work in on time. With most clients, I deliver an edit of low res files for them to go through and do their layouts with. Then they request the ones they actually need fully processed in high res form. These days you are not only the photographer but the lab and retoucher and most often will do all this work yourself. Sometimes clients forget that we are also people with other obligations. So if I have not gotten a final image order and know their deadline must be approaching, I will send a gentle reminder, letting them know my schedule so they understand they have to give me a reasonable amount of time to turn it around for them. 

  •  As a freelance photographer have you found that clients prefer one portfolio format over another? What is your preferred format?
          Mostly I get booked via my website, I do have a printed book and when I meet face to face with potential clients, I also bring my iPad. I like seeing my work in print and I think clients do too… these days many newer photographers have not really processed files for print and it often shows in the final product and not in a good way. So I think it is reassuring for potential clients to see what you do can translate to the printed page.

  • Can you offer me any advice for setting up a portfolio and getting started in a photography career?
         I would suggest assisting or interning a local commercial photographer you admire, though I never assisted, I sometimes think I might have made less mistakes if I had. As far as a portfolio, I would suggest investing in a good inkjet printer and learning to make your own prints. You can still buy off the rack portfolio books at most good art stores to put together an old school style book. There also some good and affordable online book printers, I’ve used Blurb and Artifact Uprising, both very good. Portfolios are meant to evolve as you do. I would also suggest setting up a website of some kind. I use A Photo Folio which I love but may be a bit more than you need at this point...Good luck!



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Finding Purpose

Sometimes you stumble on a great find with no clear ideal of how you will use it, but still you know you have to have it. That was exactly how I felt when I found this amazing old wooden tool box at the Sniveling Sibling almost 2 years ago. So full of authentic character, I knew somehow it would make an interesting flower box, but it sat empty till it hit me, succulents!

I'm sure original owner, Herbert Grammel had never envisioned his tool box being used for this but luckily I did.

The tricky part was protecting the box (as much as possible) from mositure, so I found a plastic flower box at my local garden center and then used inexpensive paint trays to create the right size tray for drainage. They are easy to mold to fit the box's shape which will also help to protect the wood underneath. Then I just filled in with a good cactus potting soil till all the "white" was covered. 

Check out your local farmers market for good deals on plants. I was able to get 8 medium size plants, usually $5 to $6 each for just $2.50 a piece! Succelents are hardy plants that need minimal watering and the dealer shared his rule of thumb that should be easy to remember... "Two times a week when it's hot, one when it's not." 

For more unique ideals on using these sculptural like plants check out this book by Debra Lee Baldwin.

You can find more pics and follow me on Instagram.



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Edit Mode

I've been a very busy girl and it's has been hard to keep up with fresh Pie posts lately. Not a bad place to be though when you're a freelancer. I just finshed creating the latest slid show for her spring collection and love it! Processing & deisigning it all, honestly took much more time then photographing it but I enjoy the process.

I am getting slightly addicted to instagram and updating often, so I hope you will also follow me there. If you don't have it, it is free to download and a great window into some very interesting worlds.


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Look What I Can Do!


I am crazy in love with this new adorable Valentine's series I created for Lesley's site. Shot just last week with the super kawaii Malia, wearing the equally kawaii Tina Top and Lily, the Evers's new puppy/in-house super model. I animated the images in photoshop (google it, that's what I did!) and just love the result.


And the cuteness doesn't stop there, check out Lily's film debute!

Music by Blossom Dearie


You can also get this pretty Chelsey necklace for free if you spend $150 or more, just place in cart with your other purchases and then use promo code:bemine at checkout. This offer is good till Febuary 16th or while supplies last so don't wait! 




hair & make-up by Tahni Smith, Model Maila with Lookall photos & content © Lara Rossignol


The Dish on Dish

I can't believe I lived in my new(ish) hood for over two years before I finally tried this well known area restaurant, Dish. More than once when I told someone I was living in La Canada they would say "Oh, have you been to Dish?" well now I have and will defiantly be back.

I did check out Dish online after it was recommended and have to admit was not bowled over by their site and I saw a lot of mixed reviews. I also have driven by it many times and would never have expected the fun vintage interior, from the somewhat underwhelming exterior. So when I went with a friend Sunday we were both pleasantly surprised. It is charming and bright inside and the staff was friendly and efficient. 

They are known for their breakfast and they did not disappoint. Lots of great options but I zoomed in on the "Johnnycakes" which my Grandmother use to make and have always been a favorite. You get a very generous portion, light and tasty and they even offer up the recipe here. My friend was also very happy with her spinach omelet, plus the coffee was good and strong. Overall, a great choice and I am looking forward to going back for lunch and dinner!


In other news, I finally made my Instagram account public. Since downloading the app quite a while back, I had never logged on to the social part, ever! I finally did yesterday and discovered I had over 150 follow requests. I have no ideal how those peeps even found me. So, I decided to just go ahead and drink the kool aid by making it easy for people to follow me, so do it! You might also like to follow Lesley Evers, since I am her official photographer, I'm doing a lot of her uploads too.



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Pie Archive ❀ Serious Playthings

I have been a bit crazd with traveling and work so I've updated a favorite post from the Pie archive, enjoy! 

Toy cameras have become extremely popular in recent years. Many classics being retooled and re-released, such as the Diana and Holga. Along with new versions like the Blackbird, Fly and the Lomo which have also become big sellers. I found this original vintage Diana above on eBay, where they can go for anywhere from $30 to $100 depending on condition.

Old chair shot with a vintage Diana

It is the dreamy quality of the plastic lens that seems to enamor users. My friend, photographer Jean Allsop was the first to introduce me to them back when we were students. I found my first Diana at a flea market in NYC a few years later. I brought it along while on location in Long Island for Sassy Magazine and shot these two images. 

Boondocks shot with vintage Diana

I just discovered that Lomography makes a Diana lens and an adapter ring for Canon Digital SLR (they also make them for Nikons). I love the idea of being able to combine the look of a toy camera image with the ease of my digital. 

I've also played with the very affordable Holga, a newer design which have always stayed in production. I used it to take the image below just outside of Nashville.

Finding a local place to processs the 120 film these both use may be the biggest challenge, so I found this online resource, The Dark Room. For $10 they will not only process the film but scan it onto a disc for you! For more inspiration you can check out the many toy camera groups on flickr like this Diana group.

The new hot toy of the day is Fujifilm's Instax Mini a super compact that takes fun instant photos using there own instant film. A fun novelty in this digital age.


Also there is the Toycam Handbook for even further exploration.



all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Kawaii Friday: New & Improved

Over the past few weeks I've been working hard on re-designing Lesley Evers website. A bit of a daunting process and not unlike designing a house for someone else. Something I like to do but have only ever done for myself. Not to mention the simple fact that I'm not a web designer by any means. However, I have learned a lot since starting this blog and was willing to give it a shot. We are all pretty happy with the result.


The home page features a slide show with the newest "look book" I photograhed for her beautiful resort line. It is easily my favortie shoot we have done so far. I think with each shoot we have become better colaborators and I love being able to see these shoots though to their final incarnation. While the new site makes it very easy to create beautiful slide shows, product pages and we have also added a blog. You can subscribe to our also new & improved newsletter here and be the first to hear about sales, new product & get promo codes.



hair & make-up by Tahni Smith, Model Maila with Look, all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Paint it Pretty!

In November I undertook a big project for the editors at Paint it! ...a new Harris publications on stands now. They wanted a stylized painted wall using graphically placed stencils as wall art. So rather than creating a set in a studio, I offered up a wall in my own apartment and then went to work.

I immediately hired prop stylist Jess Hammer, who had done the beautiful sets & props for this Rue Magazine shoot. She is amazing at all things crafty and as an added bonus she offered up her adorable french bull dog Laika (prounounced Leica) as a model. Who I have to add took direction like a pro.

Along with the wall, we also did several other projects for the room and spent three full days prepping and only about 1 actual hour shooting as the sun quickly set. Note to self: be careful about scheduling shoots over daylights savings time weeked! We borrowed some fantastic pieces, like that beautiful Brigitte Lounge Chair from Jonathan Adler's store on Melrose. We sourced pillows, hanging lamps and the rug from iKea for our inexpensive and easy to do painting projects.


We got our stencils online from Cutting Edge Stencils for the wall, pillows & rug. They have a really unique selection, plus great tools & easy to follow instructions. To see the whole shoot pick up the latest copy of the magazine available at most newsstands and your local Lowe's or Home Depot



all photos (except cover) & content © Lara Rossignol


Pie Archive ❀ Warmth

Collecting a particular item is rarely a conscious decision, I will just find myself drawn to something and and then some how an obsession is born. I remember seeing some beautiful but pricey vintage Scottish wool blankets at an Antiques fair and began a hunt of my own. 

1930's wedding blanket

 I am especially parcial to plaids and recently found a lovely wool throw(3rd down in top picture) from Pendelton. However, it is the true vintage ones I really want and I  found a few nice ones on eBay and at various antique stores, the most I have spent is $40. Commonly drawn to a color palette of pinks, cranberries and warm yellows. One favorite is this "wedding blanket" from the 1930's(according to the auction) the colors are reversed on each side and  it is hand stitched around the edges. 

Proper storage and cleaning is important if you want to keep them in good condition. Blanket bags are great and I recycle the plastic zippered bags that sometimes come with sheet sets for this purpose. Dry clean only, though I do sometimes run them through a fluff cycle with a dryer sheet to freshen them up.

What I love most about this particular collection is not only are they pretty to look at but they are functional items that get a lot of use. Making the small investment even more worth while. 


all photos & content © Lara Rossignol


Good Reads 

When I look back at my literary endeavors of 2013 I will remember it as the year of Neil Gaiman, who I discovered when I stumbled onto his newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Somehow I had been totally unaware of him before then, at least as a writer. After devouring this book in just a few days, I went on to read four of his previous works including Coraline, American Gods and my other favorite book of this year, Stardust

Other notable reads of the past year span a wide range of subjects for me, from the gritty and sometimes chilling, The Devil al the Time which I found exceptionally well written, though seriously, not for the faint of heart. To the sweet diversion, The Chaperon a fictional account of real life silent screen star Louise Brooks and her first summer in NYC at age 15. All seen through the eyes of her older guardian.

Many years ago I watched an excellent mini series based on the award winning book, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. So when I saw it was available for Kindles, I snapped it up. It is a beautifully written book about a young women brought up in an oppressively religious home and dealing with her homosexuality. I also really liked this unique Sci Fi story, World of Shell and Bone (oddly published under two different names, she now goes by S.K. Falls?) and am looking forward to the sequel, Land of Masks and Moonlight which I will read after I finish the addictive Divergent series.


Happy New Year! 


 content © Lara Rossignol