The shot of The Three Graces was on my list of projects for over six years, but I could never get three friends together at the same time.
Two beautiful Canadians, Kelsey and Renè walked into my Orvieto Gallery in mid October and looked attentively at the pictures both on the walls and in the racks. This is a good sign when I am looking out for women to model in my pictures. I introduced myself as the author, and we started chatting about the pictures. They were with a group of women on a yoga retreat and I felt that as they were wary of getting separated from the rest there wasn’t time to waste, so after just a few minutes (I normally keep up the patter for longer) I came out with it, “I think you would really be good in a picture I’ve been planning for some time, The Three Graces!” They seemed enthusiastic, but said they’d think about it over lunch. We fixed the shoot for 2 days later, Friday 20th.
I had actually been planning the shot for over six years, ever since my friend Lucio showed me his old de-consecrated church on a hill outside Orvieto where he restored old motors and stored veteran Lambrettas for his friends. I thought they’d be perfect for an update of The Three Graces, a favourite subject for painters and sculptors since the ancient Greeks.
The gestation had been long because I could never get three friends together at the same time or one would throw a wobbly. The most recent failure had been a week or so before.
First there were three friends from Arezzo. I sent them a sketch of what I had in mind; then one dropped out and then another; no matter, I thought, since the remaining one had a certain resemblance to Grace Kelly I hit on the idea of using only her as all three Graces.
I dusted off the Lambrettas, arranged them in a line, took a few test shots of myself with battery lights, there was no electricity, and then ‘Grace’ backed out.
It was getting cooler, the days shorter the shooting season was ending, I was willing three girls to walk in the door. Then I met the Canadians.
I called in a Czech friend of mine to make up the third Grace and we moved the day so she could take part – then whilst Kelsey was at the hairdresser’s, she was called away an hour before the shoot. It was back to the idea of one for all.
I toyed with the idea of shooting the two girls and then cloning in my friend Alice another day, but rejected it as too complicated. It was a shame not to use the beautiful exotic looking Renè however, so after the church shoot we drove to Vulci near the coast to do some landscape shots, I was hoping I could use her as a Pirelli type calendar girl. The aim being to hang the ‘Cal’ on the mechanic’s wall in post production.