Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ellen Graham’s eye on the world: Julie Christie

Julie Christie, Beverly Hills, 1974 (from Ellen Graham's The Bad and The Beautiful).
I first knew Ellen and her husband Ian Graham in Los Angeles where they have a wonderful house in Beverly Hills and often entertain with cocktail parties. Ellen’s fabulous photographs are kept mainly in one large room, a gallery/library. There are so many famous faces in fascinating places that you can’t resist being distracted by them. Many times you’d see the same faces out on the Grahams’ terrace or around the pool during cocktails. In 2004 she published some of them in her “The Bad and the Beautiful” (Harry Abrams) with Christopher Walken on the cover.

Julie Christie

I met her with Warren Beatty. I’d seen Dr. Zhivago in which she was brilliant. She was living with Warren up on Coldwater Canyon in his house that had belonged to Lauritz Melchoir, the great Wagnerian tenor of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. She and Warren were making “Shampoo” at the time.

She was willing to do the shoot because I came recommended by Warren and she probably figured she’d get some good pictures.

Ellen Graham
She was sort of shy and quiet, not very actress-y, but lovely. She didn’t clam up like some film stars do. One of my easier jobs if you can call it a job. And to photograph someone I considered one of the most beautiful women of our time along with Candy Bergen and Sharon Tate.

It was hard to take a bad shot of her – her features, her bone structure, her pale blue eyes, everything was perfect. She’s nobody’s fool. She knew exactly what to do. She wore vintage clothes, all kinds of outfits and did a few changes for me. She had great natural style and looked great.

Then I photographed her with Warren. They seemed mad about each other.

— Ellen Graham
Julie Christie, 1974. Photo to appear in Ellen Graham's The Way We Were, due out next year.

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