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2013 Atlantic Journalism Awards Finalists


Date Aired or Published September 2013
Media outlet where first aired or published: East Coast Living
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List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

The cover of our Fall 2013 issue showcased the spectacular modern farmhouse of Chas and Jennifer Mackay. Set in the middle of their apple orchard overlooking the St. John River on New Brunswick’s Kingston Peninsula, their home is a two-level, open-concept space with an attached cider house. We enlisted photographer Sean McGrath for the cover shot. This was Sean’s first assignment with us and we were impressed with both the quality of his work and his dedication to the job. With his wife about to give birth to their first child, Sean had planned on getting the cover photo on the same day he shot the rest of the home. But rainy weather ruined those plans and Sean had to return a few days later to get the perfect shot in better conditions. We had received some preliminary photographs of the home from Monica Adair and Stephen Kopp, the Saint John-based architects who designed the space. We knew we wanted the cover to showcase how well the home suits its unique pastoral setting. Our graphic designer, Gwen North, thought a shot of the master bedroom loft would do the trick, showcasing its dramatic vaulted ceiling and modern décor (the wood table is by a local New Brunswick artist), as well as the lush greenery outside, which link the space back to its role as a farmhouse. We loved that one of homeowner Chas Mackay’s playful wood carvings, which feature prominently in the story, would also be in the scene. One of the greatest challenges we face shooting home interiors is bringing energy and life to empty spaces. Even if the décor is stunning, readers may not be drawn to a magazine cover that features an empty room void of life and animation. To overcome this challenge, we instructed Sean to ask homeowner Jennifer Mackay to appear in the scene. With Jennifer shown relaxing on the love seat, the reader becomes like a fly on the wall, sharing in a personal moment in the home. Echoing the minimalist look of the space, Gwen kept the design clean, giving enough room for cover lines without muddying up the space. She also kept the font colours simple—bright red offset by leafy green. The end result was a photo that was very distinct and modern in appearance, capturing the appeal of the home and its contemporary vibe, while also conveying the warmth and beauty of its natural setting.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

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