"I don't take no for an answer"

Miriam Myrtell is props master and set designer for film and still photography. Her profession is creative in every sense of the word: She not only creates environments and suggests props that highlight the story that the director or photographer wants to tell, but she also has to find the right things. “I love the search! And the satisfaction you get when you manage to find the perfect pen or the freshest swordfish, or when you finally get hold of someone who can provide a mature apple tree that can be immediately lifted from the ground and driven to the studio, complete with its roots.”

She might, for example, be tasked with creating a display of an archaeological dig that, both figuratively and literally, dramatises the question of how long a String shelf lasts. “This wasn’t merely a case of burying a shelf in the nearest playschool sandpit. We built a huge box in the studio and made the soil from styrofoam and paint. Added to the mix were around four tonnes of sand in exactly the right colour to match the tone of the oak shelf”, Miriam explains.

Construction and photography took a week from start to finish, not to mention all the preparations. Keeping everything in order is extremely important during a photoshoot or filming. Miriam’s team can consist of four to five people who, at any given moment, have to know where to find exactly the right roll of tape. For this reason, she keeps everything in clearly labelled boxes with lids. “When the production team is renting a studio or home, you have to make the most of every minute. You can’t be running around looking for a drill because you weren’t on the ball.”

1. Steamer, dust blower, Rosco paint, plastic foil, dirty down spray, dulling spray, molton fabric

2. Sticky stuff, pigment powder, molton fabric strips, smoke cartridge, breakaway glass

3. Stainless steel ruler, yardstick, brushes, scalpel, torch

4. Scissors and knives

5. Sewing machine

6. Fabric, straps, ribbon

7. Cutting mat

8. Double sided adhesive tape, gaffa tape, Japanese saw, staple gun, drill, hammer, laser distance measurer, drill driver, glue gun, head lamp