Once upon a time, I received a phone call from Janice Kleinschmidt, Deputy Editor at Palm Springs Life. She needed a photographer to illustrate her story on Ampelos Cellars and Vineyard, the organic winery that makes Kurt Russell’s Gogi wine, and is located in Lompoc, California. Ah, and Mr. Russell was going to be there.
It was one of those dream assignments, being playful and partying with Janice, Kurt and our hosts Rebecca and Peter Work, the winery owners. Kurt’s mother, sister and son were also there, as well as my assistant for the day, Katherine, and some of Ampelos employees. It really felt like one big family. Since Kurt shared his special Gogi wine with me, I brought him a bottle of “Conde de Lipa” Rioja wine from my family. Kurt was nice to work with, even posing on top of the wine barrel, when I kindly told him of my idea for a portrait. It was a party. But it was also work. They say that you reach bliss when you cannot distinguish work from play. This day felt very much like Nirvana. And the results shows that we weren’t just slacking. Janice did a wonderful job with the intimate story of Kurt’s love for wine.
After photos and lunch at the cellars, we went to the vineyards. The party continued. At the time I was doing a series of 100 self-portraits, and at the end of the long day of shooting photos, I realized I hadn’t done my selfie of the day. At the risk of sounding dorky, I asked Kurt if I could do my self-portrait with him. He agreed and below is the result.
You can see a larger selection of photos from the day in a gallery at the Mercury Press archives.