Amboy, California - 2023
In the 1950s, many Americans sought new lives in California. Whether they were entire families, aspiring actors or creatives, army veterans or immigrants, the push west was a crowded trade. The two enablers of this increased geographical mobility were the motor car and the US road network, championed by Route 66.
I wanted to tell a story of single-minded ambition along Route 66 and my instincts were that a night shot could make sense because we would then incorporate some motel neon lights to give an emphatic time stamp to this liberating period in American history. Light is integral to all that we do and we shy away from boring lighting.
Roy’s motel and cafe in Amboy, California is as authentic a Route 66 landmark as any and the neon lights still work. We brought in a magnificent 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spyder as the treasure trove prop. Its roofless design would help me tell a more complete story as the driver needed to be seen. Meanwhile, the stunning car interior would hint at a traveller of note and substance. I think this Ferrari is now worth around $10m.
Our model that evening, in the remote Californian desert, was Daniela Braga, who is both beautiful and theatrical. We styled her to the era and I just told her to look free, dreaming of her new life in California as she drove. Afterall, at this point, she was only four hours from Los Angeles.
I have a feeling that when she arrived in LA 70 years ago, the City of Angels would have greeted her enthusiastically. Her and the 1953 Ferrari seem a very natural match up.