Including 129 full-color photographs by fine artist Catherine Opie, “700 Nimes Road” is a thoughtful, yet poignant exploration of Elizabeth Taylor’s home (her “private sanctuary”) and possessions at her Bel Air, Los Angeles address. While the concept—photographing a celebrity’s belongings—might seem voyeuristic at first, Opie approaches creating an intimate portrait of the Hollywood icon in a tender way.
The project began after attaining Taylor’s approval, but just six weeks later, the British-American actress was hospitalized before ultimately passing away in March 2011—and some of the Opie’s photographs silently document the house’s transformation afterwards, with jewelry and memorabilia soon to be packed and auctioned off at Christie’s.
From the priceless artwork hung in Taylor’s sitting room (including Andy Warhol’s portrait of her), to her in-house salon, collections of cowboy boots, fur coats and jewelry, perhaps the most telling and endearing are the images of her framed photos and tchotchkes. While Taylor was a remarkable person in several ways, there’s something entirely relatable and familiar about her when flipping through pages containing her collection of shells and heart-shaped trinkets, a few stray butterfly clips and a remote control instruction manual. In between the photographs of hoards of glittering tiaras and satin Chanel shoes, Opie has created an honest, warmhearted, but still entirely fascinating, portrait of a very real person—despite Taylor’s physical absence throughout the book.
“700 Nimes Road” officially releases 6 October 2015, but is available for pre-order on Amazon now. Check out our slideshow to see some of our favorite pages.
Images by Cool Hunting