Thursday, June 23, 2011

Paradise Lost

As we sat in the grey-walled meeting room, something became clear. Very clear. Sometimes a photographer manages to catch something and to hold that something. It resonates, stays with you long after they have gone. The image that struck us most, made us want to reach out, to hold onto, to preserve between our own pages, was at the end of his portfolio

It was Delight: the 2002 photograph was taken on a ‘family’ holiday Shields took with Robert Boyd Holbrook and Heather Stohler; the three drove for “what seemed like forever” to wind up on Anna Maria Island in the Mexican Gulf during a storm alert. “As there always is in the US – nothing if not sensationalist,”

Shields the photographer, Stohler, the model who had worked with Kate Moss for Calvin Klein, Holbrook, the man dubbed the ‘model poet’ and walked for Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Hugo Boss among others. “There was no one around,” remembered Shields. “We had this whole town to ourselves more or less.” He told us the trio rode bikes around the then-ghost village; that they swam, walked on the deserted beach and “found a week to match this moment”.

In this moment, the shot is set against a pastel sky; Stohler is piggybacked by Holbrook, her ankles dangling in the rippled water fading into the horizon. The moment is the warmth of their skin, her loose arm hanging across his shoulder, their faces turned away from us, towards each other, sharing something private, their very own moment. It’s calm, so calm. Sadly, six years later Stohler lost her life to a fire in her Indiana apartment along with her boyfriend Daniel Risley. She was 29.

“This image holds the gentle beauty and soul she had always,” said Shields. He is lucky in his work; he has an eye for the girl all others will be chasing months later; and his finest works are taken almost by chance, holding the beauty of that one accidental moment, of paths crossed and histories written. “I trust my instincts first,” said Shields. “If it feels right, then I give it a chance.”

“I sometimes feel I put too much of myself out there, but in the end the right ones always seem to come to me. My dad always said, ‘surround yourself with those you trust to show you the way, and the way will always be better’.”

“Last, but never in any way least, the most important thing I have gained from this journey, and where it goes next, is that you have always your memories first – I have so many I hold dear; they have happened from the friends I have made and the people who are most dear to me.”

I love this article and this photograph. Read the whole artical here - RUSSH

PHOTO: David Shields

WORDS:  Elle Glass

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