Tuesday, May 15, 2018

America Ferrera & Blake Lively

America Ferrera and Blake Lively, May 2005

I HAVE NEVER PUT MUCH VALUE ON YOUTH - either my own or that of others. Presented with young portrait subjects, I tended to be a bit underwhelmed, which was probably a bit of a mistake. In at least one case, that led to a missed opportunity, though I'm guessing that circumstances also played a part.

America Ferrera was already a star when I was assigned to photograph her doing interviews for a new film. She had made her name playing the title character on Ugly Betty, and was in town doing press for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, alongside another young actress named Blake Lively. It all seemed a bit "youth market" for me, so I only did as much as a potential two-column photo in the free daily required.

America Ferrera and Blake Lively, May 2005

I photographed Ferrera and Lively at the Windsor Arms Hotel, a very nice boutique hotel that gives you some idea about how much pull Ferrera had at that point, and how well the studio expected the film to perform. It was also - as I'd learned while shooting Tom Wolfe there a few months previous - one of the darkest hotels in the city. The best spot I could find to photograph Ferrera and Lively was a corner of the restaurant where the skylight provided some workable, if not particularly flattering, light.

I only photographed the two young women together, which mostly involved trying to catch a few frames of them not laughing. I didn't try to take any shots of them separately, perhaps because there wasn't enough time, but also because I didn't see the point of the extra effort. Keep in mind that I wasn't thinking of posterity or portfolios anymore - I had an assignment that I had to execute, and that was all that concerned me. I'm told - mostly by my daughter - that Blake Lively is a very big deal these days, and that I should have tried to get a shot of her. A photographer who cared about resales or reprints of their reputation might have done just that, but I wasn't that photographer in the spring of 2005.

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