The Pioneer bar in Virginia City has offered so much to us over the years and we are acutely conscious not to overplay our hand here. After all, there are many other weathered saloons in the West. We don’t want to be repetitive in our story telling. That would be lame.
Equally, for our work, The Pioneer is emphatically the best bar known to us. It has depth and the wagon wheel on the ceiling is ideally positioned. More importantly, it is home turf for us and last year I was honoured to receive “The Freedom of the City”. I have the key in my briefcase. The owner of The Pioneer partners with us rather than simply permiting us and that is a material difference.
But when we go back each winter, it is important to bring a new variable to offer the chance of an image that can transcend. There is no point going backwards. My new variable this time was Cara Delevingne and her established team of stylists and hair and make-up artists. To bring such a celebrated and relevant woman as Cara to Montana is fresh ground. Put her in front of the Eiffel Tower and it is a new look on the Eiffel Tower.
I gave her team a directive for this shot: bad ass; sexy; sovereign; 1920s but still very much Cara. They absolutely nailed it, as did she. The hat made a huge difference. I can’t think of any other woman in the world I would prefer to play this role.
These are not easy images to execute as there is such limited light. Depth of field and shutter speeds are therefore compromised. Cara would always be sharp - that was easy - then we had to hope for some luck elsewhere. Cameras have improved so much over the years in terms of ability to work in low light. I could not have done this 10 years ago. But you are pushing the camera right to the edge of its capability.