This image of Anne Schaufuss in the fab hat shot in the evening light of Pennsylvania was supposed to be a cover of Vogue in 1973, but at the last minute for some reason it was pulled. I was miffed because I thought it was quite beautiful and I was never given a reason, such was the nature of Vogue at that time and editorial photography generally. You never know what will happen next. The first part of the America Issue story is here. To continue our American odyssey we left New York in a chauffeur driven limo. We left at dawn just as the bright night lights of New York City were fading and drove into the darkness of Pennsylvania. When I say ‘WE’ I mean myself, model Anne Schaufuss, Grace Coddington, the chauffeur and my assistant Willie Christie.
I said to Grace “Where are we going today”. She said with a wry smile “We’re going to see the Amish a religious sect who settled in Pennsylvania and who don’t accept modern technology.” As the Amish are a closed community we couldn’t approach them so we drove in their direction. As we approached their farm land a horse and carriage trotted approached us on the opposite side of the road. I asked the driver if he would slow down so I could get a better look and as they went past I looked at Grace and said “That’s what I want to capture”.
We stopped at a crossroads near the entrance to their farm and Grace expertly styled Anne in a long skirt, hat and shawl and we just waited for them to come past again in their horse and cart. It was a long wait, I leant on the bonnet of the car and strained my eyes down the long road that dissolved into the thunderous sky. Willie said ” It doesn’t look good Clive, I can’t see anyone.” It was eerily silent, like the quiet before the storm and we all just stood their in the stillness not quite sure what to do. Then to my utter relief I could hear the distant clip clopping of horses hooves approaching and then we saw the Amish carriage. Willie said ” I think they are going to go right past us”. I quickly instructed Anne to stand to the left of the frame and to remain in the still pose she has adopted in the silence. I had to shoot wide open on a Nikon 28 lens because the sky was so dark and to my great good fortune they turned to the right of the frame and I got a profile view of them going past and one of the young Amish girls turned and looked back at me.
Knowing this was the only chance I would have I ran around to the left of Anne and got an image of Anne stepping forward towards the carriage. I will never know how I got these image as it is dangerous a 1/30th of a second hand held. Luckily the images turned out quite sharp, thanks to the wonderful Nikon F Camera which was the must have camera of the time.
As the day progressed the expected thunderstorm did not materialise and the late afternoon sky brightened. Looking through the window of the limo I saw this really beautiful mirror like lake and asked the Chauffer to stop driving. I got out and found this rock at the lakes edge and said to Grace, “What can we do with this?”. Grace expertly styled Anne to meld into the landscape, the grey skirt with the red feather head band and bracelet might have been made for the location.
As we drove on and I saw this incredible wooden post and vintage post box at the side of the road (which I have always loved because they are so graphic). Grace again styled the clothes to perfectly to suit the environment and mood of the scene – she had a gift for creating miraculous styling and the limo was full of never ending outfits.
As the sun set and we were leaving Pennsylvania the light was fading so I had to use a tripod to photograph the beautiful old rural American barn (below). The scene reminded me of an Andrew Wythe painting (see below) that I had always adored and had influenced me so much in my own painting and into photography. I felt the extraordinary poetic beauty of the synchronicity of being in the same landscape he had viewed and which had inspired him and now inspired me. When I was at Art School people were afraid to like Mr Wythe because his work was seen as being too photographic and not at all fashionable. What I loved about him is he did not care, he just stuck at what he loved, the clarity and simplicity of conveying the landscape with his superb technique as a painter. The first time I saw the painting Christinas World I had a moment of deja vu, it has always been a surrealistic and inspiring enigma to me. Homage to you Andrew Wythe an inspiring giant among the artists of America.
- Clive Arrowsmith is shooting stunning images, staging exhibitions and is as passionate about photography as he was when he first pressed the shutter at The Paris Collections. He is available for global media opportunities related to his work and photography generally. SEE OUR *Kickstarter Campaign for LIMITED EDITION PETER GABRIEL REFLECTIONS EXHIBITION CATALOGUE – HERE – Bespoke prints from Clive’s archive are also available by special request, for any enquiries (email Eugenie here). Clive’s book Arrowsmith: Fashion, Beauty & Portraits is available hereand Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 is available here