I met Anita during a trip that had been organized for journalists only. I knew she wrote for Elle about “all these beautiful things that surround us”. And then I learnt that in addition to that, she also spent much of her spare time on “all other beautiful things around us.” And she did it together with her best friend. What more could one possibly want in their life?
As soon as I opened your website ‘’Tabletop’’ I felt absolutely mesmerized by the photographs, the high quality photos that spoke of food, events and lifestyle. You often use words that are heard rather frequently these days; still, it seems that they carry some particular meaning—what is your message?
For us, the photographs are the result of our work and our passion. Behind each commission there is the desire to satisfy the customer and to achieve the purpose which they contacted us for, while the choices we make never compromise our original style, our aesthetic taste which is nothing but the stylistic key that makes these very clients choose us in the first place. You don’t need to distort or lose your identity ever, even for those kinds of jobs that you think just don’t reflect exactly who you are. We always try to bring out the best of us and the customer.
You two are inseparable friends. When did you decide to dedicate most of your time doing this?
Flores and I were born on the same day, May the 22th, with one year difference. Last year we found a picture where we celebrate together my first and her second birthday. We can say that we’re childhood friends for life, I’d say. The idea of working together came about somehow by chance. Namely, Flores was doing a styling job for the calendar of a supermarket and needed some help, so this was the jump start. Shortly after we came up with the name Table Top Milan, we went to Homi to proudly present ourselves to various companies and press offices in order to raise awareness of our new reality.
Anita & Flores
Photo by Stefano Campo Antico
How easy or difficult is working together?
Obviously, working in pair has its advantages and disadvantages. Together we face and develop ideas and it’s easier than when you work alone–you make comparisons and this helps to expand the vision. The union also helps us a lot when it comes to time management. Flores has two small children and I collaborate with Elle. Thus, being the two of us on team, if we have a work to do, she does not lose the recitation of her daughter and I can run to the office and bring them an article I wrote. If needed, we are interchangeable but if we have the time we like to be present on the set or in the meetings both, because each of us has their own vision and ideas. As it is often said here in Italy: ‘’together we’re stronger’’. There is only one downside to this: before we used to meet each other for aperitifs and dinners, now almost only for work!
How much does this work occupy your day?
Being a freelancer, the time that we devote to our work changes a lot from week to week. We have moments when we cannot stop even for a second, the only thing that saves us is the fact that there’s the two of us. Other times of the year when things get a bit more quiet, we use for doing various researches, we discover new trends, new contacts and new products, upgrade the site and fix some appointments. The result is that when you are self-employed you always work without pause, but it’s exactly the beauty of this kind of job.
Work for Dalani – photo by Francesco Romeo
How do you find the clients? Or, rather, how do they find you?
As soon as we started our work the customers started arriving as if by magic, we were very happy. Then we learnt how to become more visible to people, by the newsletters with targeted addresses of agencies, photographers and companies in the food and design industry, by making appointments, because we know that knowing each other in person is always better, so now as the site was born after a year, we have social connections, as well. There are also important events and trade shows that we attend, like Homi, for example, and The Furniture Fair in Milan.
Are there some people in particular that get you inspired?
There are always plenty of sources that serve us as inspiration and they’re always different, for sure. However, I still remember the latest issues of Vogue Entertaining + Travel Australia at my mom’s house, the pictures of food most of which couldn’t be found easily at that time! Today, with the internet, we are constantly updated, even if the most original ideas come to our minds when we’re simply out and about in our own city, or making trips to faraway countries. All of that inspires us and we make photographs even if it’s just a combination of colors, an old mailbox, some written thing with a particular font, a showcase, a dog or a child. Ideas come so suddenly. Our style also formed thanks to the people with whom we have had the fortune to work with, such as the photographer Francesca Moscheni, a true expert in the food industry.
What is your advice to those who would like to do a similar kind of job?
You definitely have to start as an assistant for a study or a stylist senior, as it’s very important to learn the tricks of the trade including the packing lists and how to pack a thousand plates by yourself without losing the whole day. Do all the practice you need, go to the presentations, make yourself known and try taking a few first steps alone with personal projects of young photographers. All these things are useful for a portfolio. Never stand still.
What is the greatest satisfaction for you that came due to this site? Or, what surprised you the most while working on your site?
The site was actually our first personal approach to the Web, and we get it updated rather frequently with new works, and the thing that surprises us is a situation when we discover someone who made a visit to the website for a reason that has nothing to do with our work. The compliments that come from abroad are always very much appreciated. To us, our site was born as an online portfolio, so as to be able to do our jobs without sending a thousand files to agencies or photographers, then we started to like it so much that we are now venturing with our Instagram page tabletop_milano. We’ll see what the future 2.0 holds for us.
Event for Kiabi. Photo by Lorenzo Croce