A lot of things come to mind when you think of Elizabeth Taylor, though her taste for cozy, accessible interior design as illustrated in Catherine Opie’s new book, 700 Nimes Road, may come as a surprise.
Opie treats her subject with great delicacy in this work, and in doing so manages to capture something most people were too dazzled to see – a very real and human side to a woman who was not so much known as she was experienced, like a force of nature.
700 Nimes Road, Los Angeles
Elizabeth Taylor may have been known for her jet-set lifestyle, but her primary residence remained at 700 Nimes Road, a modest ranch house just north of UCLA in Bel Air, for 30 years prior to her passing in 2011.
Three decades gave Taylor time to cultivate a home there, with a great deal of treasured décor and artifacts from a life well-traveled, which Opie documented with care.
The result is a photo book that provides a glimpse of Taylor as someone who enjoyed the same thing the rest of us do in our homes – the easy comfort that comes from being surrounded by memories.
Poignant Photography & Furnishings
What makes Opie’s book all the more powerful is that she took her photos while Taylor was home, but never had a chance to meet her. This was because Taylor had fallen ill, and unexpectedly passed away during Opie’s shoot.
The result is a book charged with a level of emotion no one could have anticipated, including Opie. Beautiful shots of Taylor’s kitchen – where staff were said to sit for meals as if they were family – and other intimate areas of her home take on new humanity.
Hollywood Glamour Meets Everyday Living
Perhaps most striking, though, is the sensible, approachable nature of Taylor’s style. Her life afforded her the opportunity to mix the casual with the extraordinary in a way most people would never consider.
It’s comforting to imagine it as a metaphor for her life; a stratospheric talent who could still appreciate and celebrate the little things that make a house a home.