Whether you know it or not, you're familiar with the work of Claire Esparros, head of social content and photographer of many of our New York projects. Let's take a look at the lady behind the lens.
Photos by Claire Esparros.
Claire, you’re the definition of a Homepolish OG. You’ve been here for over three years! Tell us about your Homepolish journey.
“Homepolish and I found each other at a really great time (giggle). I was fresh out of Elon University where I had studied photojournalism, a transplant from New Orleans. I was in New York trying to find work and crashing with friends and family. Homepolish was just under a year old with a team of only the two founders, Will Nathan and Noa Santos, Stephanie Corder, and Virna Johnson. I found them really randomly via LinkedIn, where they had posted for a photography intern. When I came in, I basically told them, “I don’t wanna be an intern. I think your company is rad, and I want to do more than what you posted for.” They started me with some photography tasks and promised to reevaluate in a month. Only two and half weeks later, I remember aggressively hunting down Noa, asking for a meeting with him, and telling him my vision for content and photography for the company. (I essentially wanted to find a way to keep working for them.) By the end of the third week, they agreed to making me full time. I remember sitting in a weird Herald Square cafe where Will gave me my job offer. When I first started, there was no one doing anything creative, so I was photographing work, writing random articles. From there, it turned into growing a network of photographers across the country and building the visual brand of the company, establishing our image.”
So before you were an interiors photographer, what was your specialty?
“When I was in school in North Carolina, I was shooting as a photojournalist. Therefore everything I shot was 100 percent real, the subjects varying from people to places to happenings. Nothing was ever staged since that would jeopardize the integrity and authenticity of that kind of work. I was capturing moments. I honestly learned how to shoot interiors through Homepolish. Though I had a vested visual interest in interiors and design, I had not yet blended that interest with photography.”
What, then, was your first photoshoot?
“Very randomly, the first thing I photographed was an event for our designers at Birchbox, and we never even did anything with the images! But my first real interiors shoot was our designer’s old Williamsburg apartment. It was basically a test for me. I had never shot interiors before, so I was excited but intimidated. Funny anecdote, Stephanie Corder came to the shoot with me (because that’s how small the team was at that point!).”
As you’ve grown in the company, what’s a standout favorite professional moment?
“One of my highlight moments was the Sweetgreen shoot. It was such an interesting project and several Homepolish team members collaborated to make it happen. Noa Santos and Justin DiPiero, one of our star residential designers, worked on the tangible, physical design of the space, and Kristen Cesiro, our art director, and I worked to capture their vision. (It was a far cry from that first shoot.) It was one of our most involved photoshoots to date, at that point, and it captured the varied aesthetics of Homepolish.”
In that time, from your first shoot to now, what have you learned about the photography process that surprised you?
“Interior photography is not only about capturing a space. It’s about properly and carefully representing how that space reflects its inhabitant(s). You need to constantly make sure people are comfortable around you and cultivate good energy.”
Interior photography is not only about capturing a space. It’s about properly and carefully representing how that space reflects its inhabitant(s).
What would you say, outside of professional endeavors, is your favorite part of Homepolish?
“The company culture is so valued here, and it was from the moment I came in three years ago. And we’ve all remained dedicated to preserving that company culture, enthusiasm, and passion. We now have roughly 65 team-members nationwide, and it still has that special sort of magic I felt when we were a team of 5. Some of my best friends in New York and some of my favorite experiences in this city come from Homepolish.”
Lets talk a bit more about your life outside of the office. What’s your personal interior design style?
“I think about this a lot, but I have a difficult time putting my finger on my exact style. It’s so hard to describe. I guess… it’s fresh and airy with pops of color infused with a little cozy bohemian. That’s what it is! And that applies to my photography aesthetic too. It’s clean and bright, but I still want to highlight the cozy, lived-in aspect. I also love to show how light and shadow interact with a space.”
“The best place to see this in action is my apartment in Williamsburg, where I live with my best friend Eva Hill and our cat, Kisses (read: perfect angel-baby except for when she is a demon). Eva is also a creative type, an illustrator and animator. Our apartment is filled with prints of her poppy, quirky drawings and my (hopefully) dreamy landscape photographs.”
If you didn’t live in your airy, bright Williamsburg cloud of an apartment, what would be your dream home?
“[Audible gasp!] My dream home is an eco-conscious house tucked into a woodsy mountainside nook, but it wouldn’t be overly rustic, by any means. It would have minimalistic, industrial bones… think Cor-ten steel, concrete floors, large, comfy furniture, and loads of art and cozy, warm accessories. And a massive fireplace.”
So, then, what sources would you use to furnish it?
“My friend Ciaran at Orior NY (we actually designed his Williamsburg loft… come to think of it, that’s my other favorite shoot) is designing such unique and elevated pieces that are far fancier than I am… but it’s how fancy I’d like to be (laughs). But I’d also love to layer in goodies from all over, old and new.”
Moving beyond interior style, how would you describe your sartorial style?
“I try to approach the items I incorporate into my wardrobe the same way I approach items in my apartment. I purchase big pieces and staples in my wardrobe that are comfortable and classic, that I’ll wear once or twice every week. Similarly, with large pieces of furniture, I want them to be comfortable and sustainable, but with enough visual flare to keep me interested. Then I incorporate the bold, colorful, fun accessories with less restraint. With accessories, you can tap into the trends that you love in the moment or of that season without breaking the bank. This rule goes for both interiors and clothing. Your foundational pieces are those that you can live with and grow with for a long time, but your accent pieces can constantly change with you… and that’s where you get to have fun.”
The same rule applies for both interiors and clothing. Your foundational pieces are those that you can live with and grow with for a long time, but your accent pieces can constantly change with you… and that’s where you get to have fun.
Now I know this is hard, but do you have a 1-line style mantra?
“Your style should be an expression of who you are as you go through life. It should be both a constant, comforting you when you come home each day, but it should also evolve with you. It’s a ever-growing iteration of you.”
If you don’t follow Claire on Instagram already, you’re missing out! Check her out at @claireesparros.