ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Los Angeles, California – 2022
To have the opportunity to photograph two of the world’s most iconic models on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles is clearly a privilege, but it also carries a responsibility. Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen are good friends, but they live in different parts of the world and if they are together in public, it is more likely to be at an event than on a set on one of the most famous stretches of road in America. Helena flew a long way for this gig and I was most conscious not to let her down.
My creative direction was to go back in time and style them as bohemian 1970s hipsters. The narrative could then be reinforced by turning the stretch of Sunset by Chateau Marmont to a specific date in that era. I chose 1975, because I knew the Jaws poster would work well on that famous vertical billboard on the border of Hollywood and West Hollywood. Complementary props such as period cars would be fairly straightforward, after all, we were filming in Hollywood and every prop is just a phone call and a few dollars away.
Cindy and Helena are both wonderful to work with; they are fun, hugely experienced and they know how to work with a camera. My only issue that morning was to work with the rising sun in a way that would do them justice - in particular their eyes. On set I struggled with them wearing shades; it would, of course, have been entirely natural given they would be looking east into the sunrise but I sensed it would be dumbing down the narrative. I wanted the photograph to shout “Helena and Cindy” as this was about them not me. If 50% of those looking at the picture didn’t recognise the girls immediately because they were wearing shades, I thought that I would be missing the opportunity.
I think it was the right decision, Helena’s eyes are as hauntingly intense as they were when she first came to the world’s attention and Cindy eyes are - of course - a window to her soul.