One lesser known fact about the author Vladimir Nabokov is that he was an avid lepidopterist- one who specializes in the study of butterflies and moths. It explains the many butterfly and moth references in books like Pale Fire and Invitation to a Beheading, and his appointment at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. An even lesser known fact is that, along with Harvard and Cornell, Nabokov also spent time at Wellesley College (1941-48), where he introduced the study of Russian language and literature, and at least got a little inspiration for the fictitious Beardsley College in Lolita.
It was Wellesley College then that appeared the most appropriate location to lay out my Nabokov-inspired collection of lepidopteran-related things and stage these photos of Sondra.
It was a crisp October afternoon on the day of the shoot, an ideal time to visit a New England college campus. Having gone to Wellesley in the early 2000’s, it was my goal not to capture Wellesley as I know it, but Wellesley as Nabokov might have known it. I remember once being shown a photo of him tutoring a group of well-dressed girls under a tree in the academic quad. It was a far cry from today’s average scene of girls in sweat pants and Uggs, scuttling between Green Hall and somewhere with an outlet for them to charge their phone.
I can’t exactly say that I “miss” the old days, since I was never there, but we all make our own memories. This one is mine, the secret of pixels and pigments, the refuge of art.
- Date: Thursday, October 30, 2014
- Location: Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
- Photos/styling: Kayt Silvers
- Model: Sondra @ Bella Life Models
- HMUA: Erika Tissnes