ASPEN HAS FALLEN
Aspen, Colorado - 2022
The J Bar at the Jerome Hotel in Aspen is an integral part of the Shangri-La that is Aspen. There is a freewheeling vibe to a bar that has hosted all sorts over many decades. I have long wanted to throw an extreme mix of characters into this set and in doing so give a nod to the town’s inclusivity and breadth. Nothing is normal in Aspen and over the years there has been more scandal and intrigue than there has been conformity. This is a bohemian destination as much as it is a ski destination.
My goal was to play to the lore of the wild west with a smorgasbord of storybook characters. There was room for some giddy western revisionism and I was keen not to be too earnest. My predilection was that 1880 Aspen and 1980 Aspen were both quite loosely governed and there should be a definite sense that trouble lay ahead. Saloons in the mountains should have exciting patrons, not bland ones.
I called upon two exceptional talents to lead this image, fellow Brits, Cara Delevingne and Gerard Butler. Cara has such a strong look and Gerry can walk into any period set and own it. I can’t think of a better couple to play western archetypes. The rest of the ensemble all played their roles to perfection and I thank them all, as well as the management of the Jerome who accommodated our every need.
My best work tends to have two common features: the first is that it has some authenticity and the second is that the photograph can be looked at for a long time. I think this image scores high on both counts and each time I look at it, I recognise that the Jerome would never have had a more formidable patron than Gerard Butler’s character. He owns that room - despite some exceptional competition.
Aspen has fallen.