© THE BIGHOUSE
The Studio, featuring light-flooded ceiling-to-floor windows.
Since 2000, commercial photographer Calvin Lockwood has lived “over the shop” in the turn-of-the-century, 17,000-square-foot warehouse he bought in 1993. Castleberry Hill, Lockwood’s Atlanta neighborhood, is filled with old and storied industrial buildings, many of which have been rehabbed into live/work spaces during the last twenty years.
Originally built as a dry goods store, Lockwood’s building has served a variety of functions—including many years as “the Atlanta Chicken Coup,” a poultry hatchery—before falling into neglect and disrepair. The job of gutting the place was monumental. The roof leaked badly, the brick and granite walls were covered in old plaster, and the bead-board ceilings and heart-of-pine columns were covered with layers of lead-based paint. The floors lay beneath ancient linoleum and office carpet. After putting in immeasurable sweat equity, Lockwood hired an architect to help transform the old building into the gorgeous facility it is today.
With three shooting spaces to choose from: Studio, Loft and Granite Room, The BigHouse has been a warm and welcoming location for all varieties of photo shoots, videos and commercials. Many of the film and TV shoots take place in the 3,300-square-foot Loft, in part because of its 300 amps of power, gourmet kitchen and freight elevator. A spiral staircase leads to a sunroom and upper roof deck with spectacular views of the Atlanta skyline. Rates for the Loft start at $1,000 per day.
The 3,000-square-foot Studio, with floor-to-14-foot-ceiling windows and eastern exposure, is equipped with a loading dock, cyc wall, kitchen, hair and makeup area, and large, comfortable client lounge with high-speed wireless internet. Rates start at $800 per day. “There are less expensive studios if you just need a cyc wall,” Lockwood says. “But most people shoot here for the environment; the brick and granite walls, the heart-of-pine floors and the big windows.”
A main priority in the renovation of this wonderful old building, Lockwood says, was to keep the spaces as open and airy as possible for photography. “The studio has the red brick and the loft has painted brick,” he says. “I tried to create as many different backgrounds as possible without sacrificing the look.” He couldn’t have done a better job.
The 800 square-foot Granite Room, named for its beautiful walls of exposed granite, features frosted glass block windows and western exposure. In addition to being used for shoots, this space is often rented out for art shows, with varied rates.
Sales and rentals of equipment are conveniently close by, at 330 Peters Street, with free delivery and pickup to and from the Big House.