Taking these two old mountain men to this sensational saloon in southern Montana was a logistical challenge. John, the 95-year-old accordion player, lives on his own in the middle of nowhere and is 80% deaf, but we knew his face would fit and that he would enjoy himself.
He was a talkative fellow. When I drove him home the next day, he spoke for an hour without stopping. I am now fully familiar with the story of the Scandinavia emigration to the West 120 years ago and indeed all his lovers. John actually played the accordion with distinction and, of course, was oblivious to his audience. “Pretty girl”, he said on the way home. John never married.
The other John we know well. He fully embraces the notion that ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ and consequentially he is a little unsteady on his feet from time to time. But between the two Johns I had the narrative I was seeking. I was playing to my well-trodden path of visual disquietude. When asking myself the question as to who to blend Cara with in a 100-year-old bar in the wild west, my mind said - that’s easy - 100-year-old men.
The saloon had so much textural detail, but we were not shooting for an interior design magazine and I wanted to keep the light low and moody. After all, that’s the reality of these places. To flood the place with light and increase my depth of field would kill the image. My focal point was always going to be Cara’s eyes - it is in every shot with her. Why would you go anywhere else?