INSPIRATION - DOLCE VITA
In the early nineties a fashion editorial by photographer Stephanie Pfriender Stylander appeared in British GQ. One of the images from that shoot sits in a frame on my wall. Heavily inspired by the film “La Dolce Vita” it shows a formally dressed couple sat, or rather slouched, at a table outside a restaurant somewhere in Italy, eating ice cream with attitude (if that is possible!)
I was 21 and this image had a huge impact on me. It was a perfect moment, the look on her face, the look on his, the clothes, the attitude, even the slop of ice cream running down the side of the bowl…
It was effortless, it was exotic, it oozed cool…
I wanted to live life as in the picture. And that wasn’t going to happen in a small town in Lancashire!
There was a growing feeling of needing to explore and that image in particular encapsulated the mounting inspiration to travel.
It was aspirational.
And for the six years I lived abroad working on cruise ships I lived it!
On returning home to look for a new challenge in fashion photography this image again had a huge influence on me and this time on my work.
A single image had inspired me to change my life by portraying a lifestyle I aspired to.
A single image that had so many unanswered questions held within it, where had this couple been, where were they going, how long had they been together?
Being on the receiving end of such a powerful image made me realise how important images are in our life.
I realised that, rather than emulating the photograph, I wanted to emulate the photographer.
I wanted to produce aspirational images.
Nearly 30 years on from first the Dolce Vita image that feeling hasn’t left me.
In 2005 I emailed Stephanie via her agent to communicate how much of a profound effect a simple image in a fashion editorial had on me.and to simply say thank-you. I received a wonderful reply back from Stephanie, part of which, with permission, you can see below.
My agent forwarded me this great letter that you sent them for me. Well, I
must say I am very flattered. It is a wonderful thing when you know you
have influenced a person during their lifetime…
...The "Dolce Vita " story is still one of my favorites. I have many memories
of my Italian grandparents, visiting their homes here in America, eating all
the delicious foods, essentially feeling love. The seed was planted early
in falling in love with the Italian people, their spirit their "Dolce Vita"
attitude. I liked mixing a combination of safety from knowing what I had
and giving the image a cinematic quality of mystery keeping the feeling
ambiguous so the viewer could add the rest to the story...
Looking forward, Stephanie”
To see more of Stephanie's work click here