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37” x 75” Unframed 52” x 90” Framed Edition of 12
51” x 103” Unframed 66” x 118” Framed Edition of 12

I knew that to try and celebrate Brigitte Bardot’s St Tropez with a series of photographs would be to travel on a road littered with potholes. Whilst the idyllic charm of this most famous of seaside towns has a sense of permanency that touches only a very few communities, we would be trying to tell a story of an iconic woman without her being there. Parody or not, that is a dangerous game for a visual artist.

Locations were always going to be a central building block to this project and there were some important decisions to be made in a town that can be very busy. Early on we homed in on one area - La Ponche. It’s such an emblematic part of St Tropez: it was here that Roger Vadim rolled his cameras in “And God Created Woman” in 1958, the movie that made Bardot - his then wife - a world-wide sensation. With its narrow, cobbled streets and wider aesthetic splendour, La Ponche is the spiritual heart of St Tropez.

The harbour has several other attributes: it hasn’t changed much since 1958, it isn’t crowded with tourists at 6.45 am and furthermore, it is visually elevated in the first half hour when the sun rises from the east. It is also a practical location for an early morning shoot. La Ponche Hotel, where Bardot staying during the making of the movie, is still very much in operation and became our own HQ for the shoot.

Gunter Sachs started romancing Brigitte Bardot in the mid 60s, she was often seen on his Riva Aquarama - Dracula. It is a boat that embodies the glamour and style of 1960s St Tropez and luckily through a long friendship with Gunter’s son Rolf, we were able to borrow Dracula for the shoot. That was a big break.

The hardest part of the jigsaw, however, was finding a balance between the model’s necessary anonymity and the sense that she could pass as Brigitte herself. We have worked with Frida Aasen before and felt confident that she could play the role prescribed. Frida had done her homework and understood her head angles and then it was simply hoping we would get one glimpse when it all aligned. She had to look the part.

I smile when I look at this photograph, in part because I sense some reward from the homework, the planning and then the spontaneity on the day. It all happened very quickly and long before most people in St Tropez were awake. ~ David Yarrow

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