I have long been familiar with the haunting romanticism of Deborah Turbeville’s fashion photography, and have often lost myself in their eerie atmospheres and spectral moods– elegant ghost stories, and hazy hallucinations of antique decadence, beloved and perfect, all.
I had never seen until tonight, though, her 1981 series Unseen Versailles:
“In the late 1970s, Turbeville was living in Paris. She discovered the Château de Versailles, but was refused access for a fashion shoot. Fortunately, thanks to Jackie Kennedy Onassis – an admirer and a friend! – she was finally granted permission to photograph the estate during its renovation. She spent a whole winter there and presented her work in a book, Unseen Versailles, in 1981.” (via)
The photographer went in search of unused, unaltered rooms, scattering their floors with autumn leaves to emphasize the chambers’ abandonment and neglect. The result–a haunting vision of this excessive place, a ghostly evocation of memory and melancholic magics in those long-waiting derelict, dust-shrouded and twilight chambers.
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