Written by Lia Hobel
Photos courtesy of Middleburg Photo

The season of themed tailgates has arrived again in Hunt Country. Friends and family will gather every weekend for local point-to-point races with shiny silver wine coolers, floral arrangements, and unique equestrian décor. Local photographers, Karen Monroe and Doug Gehlsen, the creative powerhouse of Middleburg Photo, have designed a new product to elegantly accentuate tablescapes — tea towels. 

“Doug and I document life in the horse community,” Monroe shares. “Our new line of tea towels brings that vision forward. The tea towels are created in vivid color blocks that naturally focus the eye on the silhouette of a local huntsman. “Cropping or focusing on details is one of [the] trademarks in our images,” Monroe explains. “It is important to get the right image that someone can relate to.” 

As distinguished photographers, the couple has “years of images to use as inspiration to draw upon.” Monroe and Gehlsen united their photography talents in 2011 and opened their studio a few years later outside of Middleburg with the goal of capturing the essence of Hunt Country in portraits. “Everything we do involves community — local meets, horse racing, people with their dogs — we document a lifestyle,” Monroe emphasizes. As artists, Monroe says they are always looking for new ways to express themselves while staying involved with the community. “Using our images in a creative new way is natural for us.”

Monroe is delighted to think of these tea towels as a memorable part of tailgate décor at upcoming races. From start to finish, Monroe and Gehlsen work as a team to create them. “It’s amazing to see an idea come to life.”

Monroe always makes a point to purchase tea towels both as personal keepsakes and to bring back as gifts during her travels. After realizing not everyone wants large portraits for their walls anymore, tea towels seemed like a good fit for the Middleburg Photo product line as they are small, transportable, and can be imprinted with beautiful imagery. “Silhouettes are timeless with a simple elegance that enhances any bar tailgate with local flavor,” Monroe shares. “This is my signature piece on all our tea towels.”

It is simply one of the many ways Monroe and Gehlsen artistically preserve the memories of Hunt Country — and capture classic moments that can be treasured forever. ML

To purchase a predesigned tea towel, you can contact Middleburg Photo directly (details@middleburgphoto.com) or visit Middleburg Photo on Etsy (MiddleburgPhotoShop). The shop features a collection of Equestrian-styled designs from Middleburg Photo, LLC. 

This article first appeared in the March 2022 Issue.

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