Sophia Loren in Miami

I’ve just been alerted that an article I had photographed for Architectural Digest Magazine in 1995 is appearing again in the magazine’s online site. Here’s the link:

Architectural Digest Visits Sophia Loren in Miami

As a photographer, it’s satisfying to learn that your work of the past still holds interest for today’s readers. But that’s always and especially true when the story involves a celebrity. And this one’s not only about your average celeb but an icon in the world of film.

Back then I had received a call from the assignment editor at Architectural Digest that the actress, Sophia Loren, had an apartment in South Florida. That wasn’t news to me because I had been hired to photograph that very apartment for its interior designer, Ted Fine, and I had recently completed the shoot. Architectural Digest had seen the photos and wanted to use them in a story. As an AD Contributing Photographer, I was regularly assigned shoots in South Florida as well as at locations throughout the Caribbean. The photographs of Sophia’s apartment hadn’t been published anywhere yet and when the call came from AD, I was able to assure the magazine that it would be the first to publish them. But AD wanted more than just those interior design shots. Sophia herself had agreed to appear in the story and that’s why the magazine was now calling. She had promised the magazine to make herself available for a shoot in the apartment.

That assignment would become a memorable day for me. Sophia posed for my camera in four different areas of the apartment. She would appear styled differently for various activities which included dressed to go out, casually relaxing at home and, most interestingly, in her kitchen preparing a meal. I learned that she had authored a cookbook and was used to shopping her ingredients at Lorenzo’s Market in North Miami Beach.

Being the consummate pro, she treated me and my crew with the utmost respect and was surprisingly generous with her time, She was happy to dress and prep herself without the aid of a personal stylist and was ready-to-go for four individual scenes. She asked for nothing more than our input and approval as to her apparel for each setup. I have to thank my wife, Loretta, whose artistry and experience in the garment industry bore fruit that day. My skills are elsewhere, but Loretta boldly stepped to the plate and became the actress’s advisor for each appearance.

The most challenging setup was the scene in the kitchen where it would appear that she was preparing a meal for friends. We had learned she was quite used to doing this (knowing a local resource like Lorenzo’s for example). Loretta came up with the idea of Sophia making her own pasta and to pose her working a pasta machine. Loretta is a very experienced amateur chef, and since that kitchen had few accessories, she brought her own pasta machine from home along with an assortment pots and dough prepping materials. All that remained was the sheet of dough and the rolled pasta to come out of the machine in the shape of linguine. No, we didn’t actually make it from scratch – we purchased sheets of pasta from Lorenzo’s Market and they stood in very well. On the day of the shoot, Loretta, her star-struck emotions in check, stood with the actress helping her set up the “pasta making scene” – and we had it! In addition to the shot for the magazine, a black and white polaroid of Loretta Forer and Sophia Loren together in the kitchen is a wonderful souvenir of that day!

Loretta & Sophia Captioned 4

A Photo-Shoot in an Unusual Place

3924-18 ©2008 Dan ForerSometimes it’s just plain luck.

 

My assignment was to photograph a newly created collection of furniture pieces by designer, Adriana Hoyos. Adriana, well-known as an interior designer, is also the creator of her own line of furniture on display in her showrooms located in Miami, Ecuador, Venezuela and Chile.

 

With ad deadlines looming, it was decided that, rather than await shipment to Miami, the most efficient way to photograph the line quickly was to do it where all the new pieces were located, in Adriana’s home base, Quito.

 

But then it became a question of where to do the shoot. Adriana was against shooting in a studio. That would have been fine for a “catalog” style of furniture photography; isolated pieces against a seamless neutral background. This shoot had to be different. It was destined for a campaign using full-page ads in prominent design journals. Neutral catalog shots wouldn’t do. She felt that the venue and background for the pieces should compliment her designs though not compete or distract. The placement of the furniture in real-world home settings was an option she rejected. Adriana felt that in each ad, the piece should be isolated and rivet the viewer’s attention powerfully. They deserved to be seen as individual creations; more like works of art or as sculptures – which indeed they were.

3924-15 ©2008 Dan Forer

For a location, a fortunate convergence of events led her to visit a closed and fire damaged theatre in downtown Quito which was owned by a friend. When I arrived in Quito with my assistant fully equipped to do the shoot, she asked me to visit the site in order to help make the final technical and artistic decision on whether or not the space would work.

3924 Adriana Hoyos Theater

The area I chose on the theatre’s mezzanine was vast. The extraordinary thing was that the fire had left the walls of the space covered in a patina of mottled earth tones. And, especially useful, the entire space was flanked by a wall of high windows letting natural light stream in from one side. I felt we could depend on that light as a principal source and I could provide the needed fill and accent using my own lighting units.

 

Finally, the furniture pieces, strategically placed for the photographs, easily stood apart emphasizing the simplicity and elegance of their design.

 

3924-09 ©2008 Dan Forer

 

 

So the luck of finding that extraordinary place made all the difference, And with Adriana’s willing staff helping us transport and position the furniture pieces, we shot for two long days coming away with a collection of images that satisfied my client and made me proud to have been a part of the process.

 

3924-06 ©2008 Dan Forer