Guest Blogger: David Jimenez "Living with Photos"

I've introduced you to David Jiminez before on this blog. (You can read his other Martha Moments contributions here.) The talented designer and stylist is vice president of visual merchandising for Hallmark and is a regular reader of this blog. David and I struck up a friendship after a bit of online banter and he has thankfully agreed to periodically contribute some design tips to Martha Moments. In this article, David reflects on his passion for collecting and displaying photography in his homes (he lives in Kansas City and has a summer place in Palm Springs) and offers some helpful tips for displaying your own collection. Read his article below and please visit his website for more inspiration.

Ever since I can remember, I've been passionate about photography. As a teenager, I would buy those inexpensive large calendars (the kind that are filled with black and white photos of European cities), tear them apart and use the prints as artwork on the walls of my small bedroom in the Bronx.

I would carefully thumbtack the photos, edge to edge, creating a perfect grid above my headboard then lounge for hours staring at the beautiful images, transported to the romantic destinations they depicted. Over the years, I’ve amassed a large collection of black and white photography and charcoal drawings. They have no pedigree to speak of, just a range of subjects I choose based on how they make me feel. As a result, it’s an eclectic mix that ranges from thrift store finds to original pieces signed by the artist. What unifies them is their monochromatic scale and my admiration for them.

Whether it’s a gallery of family photos or a mixed collage of subjects, I love the way a wall of framed photography adds warmth to a room and conveys a personal story. I also love how impacting just a single photograph can be when it's placed in the perfect spot, giving the design of the room context and character. 

When I relocated from San Francisco to Kansas City, it took me a little while to adjust to my new surroundings. I was driven to set up the rooms quickly, surround myself with furnishings that were familiar and reconnect with my stuff.

Filling the rooms with photography was something I was anxious to do since it gave me the same pleasure that I had as a kid daydreaming about far away places in my room.

The feeling we all experience when we create the right space is one of peace and harmony – a happy place that we can’t wait to spend time in and share with those that mean the most to us.

A collection of black-and-white photographs mingle with charcoal prints behind a sofa in the carriage house. They create geometric depth while drawing the eye upward to the bank of small windows above.
A closer look at the same vignette reveals the beauty of the layers and the contrast in scale and texture.
In the home office, photographs snuggle warmly into the corner, filling nearly every inch of the wall. A photo of a pair of hands on the desk leans casually onto a framed mirror behind it.
Subtlety is the order of the day in this guest bathroom. A photograph of a woman standing on a rock by the sea fades quietly into the lightness of this all-white room. The feeling is clean, pure and airy. In David's bedroom, below, a bouquet of white roses is echoed in the striking photograph behind it.
Inspiration: Create the Perfect Gallery

Nearly every surface of my home is layered in some way. Sometimes, it's as simple as layering a mirror with a photograph to create a casual vibe and a look that is spontaneous and carefree. In making choices, I start by pulling together pieces that vary in shape, texture, and finish. Creating gallery statements with my art collections is a fundamental cornerstone of style that I rely on time and again. Whether they are family photos or collected pieces of artwork, nothing is more personal than a grouping of framed art collected on a gallery wall. Here's a closer look at how it's done on this wall of eclectic photography and some tips to consider when creating your own gallery.
Keep your palette simple. I usually stick to all black-and-white, gathered in a combination of like-minded frames.

  • Different frame sizes will create an asymmetrical composition that will look more interesting.

  • Keep the wall neat and aligned by laying out the frames on the floor first and assembling them there in a rectangle that duplicates the space on the wall.

  • Use a bench or a piece of furniture to anchor the scene. It gives the gallery a finish line.

  • Create added warmth and richness by accessorizing with pillows, throws, and candles. Heap a stack of books on any surface to add depth and create instant chic.

  • If you have wall space to the left or right of the piece of furniture, layer and lean photographs against the wall, instead of hanging them, to keep the arrangement looking casual and loose.


Anonymous said...

Great post! What a talented guy, and so good looking.

kitchen tables said...

I am now having a problem with all my pictures. I have a lot of collection of pictures. I want to display all of it. I don't know what to do. Thank you for sharing your post. I think I have an idea now.