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Perfectly imperfect

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Perfectly imperfect | story.one

On the 30 second walk from my front door to the photo studio entrance, I trip over hockey sticks and bikes left out from my boys. It’s not uncommon for a client to drive into the Hof just as I’m chucking hockey pucks into the garden or hiding away Opas fishing poles and live, wiggling fish bait. I live with cavemen.

Our studio is snuggled between our house on the busy Linzer Bundesstraße and Opas sprawling Karosseriebau and Autokühler workshop. A corner of the studio, jammed with comfortable, mismatching sofas and chairs, is where I give my English lessons. A happy change of scenery for me in comparison to my other job, lecturing business students in a typical classroom. The other part is filled with backdrops, tripods, lenses and lighting equipment to assist my husband on his photo shoots.

It was 2010 when my husband stood in the broken-down garage between the house and the workshop. He kicked up the broken cement with his shoe. “I’m going to build my studio right here” he marked an X in the dirt.

While he installed electrics, and laid floors, I drove him nuts by contemplating color schemes even before the walls had gone up. Choosing colors for our home had already been a sore spot between us so we we found ourselves at Bauhaus arguing once again. Completely frustrated, I grabbed a can of paint he would surely hate: “How about this girlie-pink for the studio bathroom?” He threw up his hands and in a rare and (for me) happy moment of weakness, he said“FINE!” I could hardly believe my luck. Our girlie-pink bathroom has a gold, antique mirror, a pretty makeup table, smelly soaps, flowers; a fun mix of class and kitsch even my husband has grown to love.

The cosy corner of the studio (my classroom) is surrounded by blue-green baroque wallpaper (a great photo backdrop) and lit up by an old chandelier and vintage lamps picked up at flea markets around Salzburg. Coffee is served in my favorite, antique, espresso cups. Fine porcelain, each cup a vibrant shade of pink, green, blue and yellow and seamed in gold throughout.

In Spring and Summer, the coffee table is adorned with whatever is in bloom. Peonies, Phlox, Hortensia and pink roses from my garden or wild flowers plucked from the fields surrounding the nearby Samer Mösl. In Winter, a crackling fire in the wood-burning stove provides heat.

Despite my efforts to create a beautiful atmosphere, there is more than enough masculine energy to counter it all. Every Friday Opa and his buddies gather to play cards. From his office, comes a tinkering of the radio and the scent of Gulasch wafting under the studio door. Bursts of laughter, the cackling of old men, sporadically interrupts my course. It’s impossible not to laugh with them. But most days, I teach to the muffled clack clack clacking of Opa working away in the workshop.

I joke with my clients that they can get three-in-one at my place; English lessons, a photo session, or even get their car repaired. It's my favorite place to work. Relaxing, self-made and perfectly imperfect.

© Marie Motil 2020-01-17

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