life in normandy as seen by studio emp

by Sharon Santoni

my rench country home in evening light

You may remember that I had the pleasure of hosting Jeni Maus here a couple of weeks ago.  She was on a buying trip for her company Found Vintage Rentals, and together we had fun at fairs and local dealers.

copper pot lids on white wall

What you may not have known, is that her husband Joel joined her on the second leg of the trip, and that he is an outstanding photographer, his company is called Studio EMP.

table and chairs outside blue shuttered window

This was double heaven for me; accompanying Jeni while she shopped and watching Joel work his magic as he followed us from dealer to fair and home again with the treasure.

asking dogs to sit for photo

For ‘magic’ really is the best word to describe what he does with his camera.  The way he captures the light, and seizes the spontaneous moment is so inspiring.

view over valley

Gibson immediately became his Very Best Friend, and they went for a couple of walks together.

 golden retriever in evening light #gibsonandghetto

golden retriever in evening light #gibsonandghetto

While we were buying, he was snapping away, and he recorded the whole trip for posterity.  Today Jeni and I are publishing blogposts at the same time to give you two different views of what we got up to.  She is focussing more on her purchases, while I want to share Joel’s pictures of the countryside.  It’s always good to see familiar territory through fresh eyes.  You can see Jeni’s post here.

pink blossom

As an aside ….. I’d just like to say that it is maddening how Jeni can look so gorgeous all the time – even when she’s perched on a ladder, picking zinc!  I mean, really?!

jeni maus on a ladder picking zinc to buy

A lot of pictures to enjoy, it was hard to narrow down the choice, they were all so fantastic.

They stayed in our guest cottage;

stone facade with grey shutters

and together we stopped off in local towns;

bayeux cathedral seen through branches

and got inside a cathedral or two;

inside bayeux cathedral

chairs inside cathedral

and we even got a taste of life in a  country château hotel when we stayed overnight before a fair.

house in normandy at dusk

garden at dusk

You may be happy to learn that Joel specialises in wedding and engagement photography, and that he is available for  shoots in France.  One of his privileged venues  will be the stunning Château de Moissac in the South of France; just about the dreamiest place I know!

gibson and ghetto in the garden

 Ghetto and Gibson have been finding life pretty quiet since Joel and Jeni went home, but I guess that’s not surprising, after all , you know how much they love the camera!

I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I did.   If you want to contact Joel for any photography work, then just get in touch with him here.  Not only are his pictures amazing, but as a bonus  I couldn’t imagine working with a more easy going and charming guy.


Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon May 18, 2015 - 6:21 pm

I am always struck by your generosity to your friends.

I just love that Ghetto. I know I could not handle him, but I just love that little mischief maker. 🙂

Now over to see what your friends have to say.

kathleen kennedy brush May 18, 2015 - 7:40 pm

love your blog and please write me about your Brocante trips

Christy Lord May 18, 2015 - 8:11 pm

Hi! I am coming to the Normandy region in July 4th and I am so excited to show my children. We are large American family (6) and I was wondering if you have ever done a post on where to stay and what to see in the Normandy region. I have saved all your Paris blogs so I am ready for that leg of the trip. We will be in Normandy for 3 days then to Bordeaux then Spain. I love your blog

Dana May 18, 2015 - 8:41 pm

We came with an extended family party of 7 and stayed in Bayeux (Hotel Churchill). We hired a great private guide for the day (knowledgeable and spoke very good English; I was only French-speaker in our party). Began at Pegasus Bridge and went thru the beaches and the American, British and German cemeteries, ending up in Ste Mere-Eglise, where they have a model of the paratrooper hanging from the church spire as in “The Longest Day” movie. Also, the church has a stained glass window of a madonna surrounded by parachutes. The guys went to the war museum in Caen while we saw the famous tapestry. It was then a pretty easy drive to Mont St Michel, which was on my bucket list. Everyone in Normandy was lovely. Have an awesome trip!

Vicky from Athens May 19, 2015 - 1:32 am

While in Normandy a couple of years ago we first stayed a few days in Bayeux and then moved “down the road” a short way toward Ste. Mere Eglise and stayed in a lovely estate called “L’Hemerel”. It’s near Isigny. We loved it there. It had quite an interesting history! Our hosts were wonderful – I highly recommend it.

Jane Nash May 18, 2015 - 8:26 pm

Just beautiful, thank you for sharing x

Caterina B May 18, 2015 - 8:26 pm

They ARE lovely photographs!
Those dogs! Those dogs! They are adorable!

Vicky from Athens May 18, 2015 - 8:36 pm

Beautiful photography, indeed! The photos of the dogs are especially delightful. You all must have had a wonderful time, wandering through Normandy, snatching up treasures.

Barbara Hall May 18, 2015 - 8:56 pm

The Golden is a beauty! Reminds me of my late male Golden a lot, who was so handsome. Of course, all the other photos are equally as gorgeous. Thank you for sharing a delightful series of photos.

Veronica May 18, 2015 - 9:45 pm

Absolutely gorgeous images!! Joel and Jeni are beautiful inside and out. I couldn’t agree with you more when you use the word “magic” to describe what Joel does, it truly is! Thank you for sharing and for allowing me to enjoy the trip through these gorgeous images!

susan May 19, 2015 - 12:42 am

Beautiful pictures! Makes me miss France so very much!

Barbara May 19, 2015 - 12:52 am

What a beautiful and tranquil property! How wonderful to spend time with friends doing absolutely fun things.

Susan (une femme) May 19, 2015 - 1:34 am

What absolutely stunning images! They capture both the beauty and the uniqueness of a moment in time.

sally jo winebrenner May 19, 2015 - 1:46 am

Oh….the heart palpitations…..I ache to see it all for myself. We live in a converted granary on an old equestrian farm in upstate New York….on the Erie Canal. The village we live in, my great, great, great grandfather named after his former home town in Pittsford, Vermont. We are steeped in beauty and charm here, but not like France. Perhaps…..someday….wouldn’t it be “loverly”. Fondly, Sally Jo

LA CONTESSA May 19, 2015 - 2:02 am

I see some new spots in the garden!
Looks like SHE had a VERY GOOD time!Of course,how can YOU not have a good time!
The Boys look happy and full of LIFE…….GHETTO & GIBSON.BEAUTIFUL.
I made your Butternut squash soup last night!THAT IS A WINNER!

Andrina May 19, 2015 - 3:00 am

Just stunning, thank you for sharing. Especially love the ones of Gibson and Ghetto they are delightful.

Esther George May 19, 2015 - 3:10 am

Hi Sharon, al I can say is absolutely beautiful, and you have cheered me up, I don’t do well with cloudy days. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time regards Esther from Sydney. PS love the dogs.

Colleen Taylor May 19, 2015 - 3:38 am

Wonderful photographer he is indeed. His website is quite lovely & these images are gorgeous. I can’t even begin to imagine how you and Jeni determined what to buy with the enormous selections there are to choose from. It’s overwhelming to say the least & you all must have been exhausted. Jeni must have quite the following of clientele to purchase all this brocante, impressive Sharon.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann May 19, 2015 - 5:05 am

What gorgeous photos, Sharon. You are right, they really are magic. The light is captured in a way that is almost unreal. I think my favorite shot is of Gibson and Ghetto – although I am surprised that Ghetto held still long enough!

Have a beautiful week! XOXO

Madeline Margraves May 19, 2015 - 6:16 am

Oh Sharon….I just read your blogs and dream of being in Normandy once again…you lead a beautiful life that most of us just dream about………thank you for including us!

Annie Maurer May 19, 2015 - 6:48 am

So amazing to be staying here from Australia, in your guest cottage, as you weave your magic with words and beautiful pictures, Sharon. I think I have died and gone to heaven! Normandy is truly stunning and I would recommend Sharon’s beautiful guest cottage and warm hospitality to anyone wishing to visit France!

Our French Oasis May 19, 2015 - 10:06 am

What a fabulous two weeks – the best part of all of this has surely to be meeting such lovely people

geraldine May 19, 2015 - 10:35 am

lovely photos, love the cathedral showing all the ribs, always great architecture around theres. We are finally seen some flowers but the dear and rabbits eat them all around here, perhaps we took too much of their habitat here in western New York

Heather in Arles May 19, 2015 - 12:40 pm

Just incredibly, incredibly gorgeous…*speechless*

Chrysanthemum May 19, 2015 - 3:08 pm

Thank you for the visit with Jeni and Joel. Isn’t OLD lovely… RUSTIC is so appealing…. Even the ANCIENT buildings draw us in…. I don’t think the Europeans themselves are so attracted to the architecture and history as North Americans are. The two years we lived in Vienna had me always walking around and looking up at the beauty of the city and often stepping off sidewalks. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the space and greenery we have in our cities and the more affordable homes we have here, but I do love the BUCOLIC appeal of all these photos.

Nancy May 19, 2015 - 5:04 pm

Lovely pictures! What fun you had….
I don’t think the link to your friend’s blog is working though….I wanted to see her pictures of “stuff”….
What fun.

Gina May 19, 2015 - 10:20 pm

so lovely and such sweet puppy faces!

Marlene Stephenson May 19, 2015 - 11:53 pm

Thank you so much these were wonderful, this Okla. girl has France on my list of things to do. I love your post so much and keeps my dream alive,thank you Sharon so much.

Leslie in Oregon May 20, 2015 - 10:11 am

Gorgeous photographs, especially of the glorious Gibson and Ghetto!

DJ Baggerly May 20, 2015 - 3:25 pm

As I sit enjoying my morning coffee, I take a tour of France by way of your wonderful pictures. Thank you for making my morning a trip to remember.
Peace be with you today and always.

Leslie May 21, 2015 - 5:51 am

Too beautiful for words!!

franki June 1, 2015 - 10:39 pm

A picture is worth a thousand words….beautiful!! franki

Match Prediction June 9, 2017 - 2:06 pm

Wow, great article.Much thanks again. Will read on


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