A photographer got an exclusive look at Elizabeth Taylor’s home just before she died — here are her stunning photos

Feb.February 08, 2016 05:15 PM

When social documentary photographer Catherine Opie embarked on the project of documenting the home of actress Elizabeth Taylor in November of 2010, no one could have anticipated just how timely her visit was.

Midway through the project, Taylor died after a long struggle with congestive heart failure. Her passing brought a heavier weight to Opie’s work, and it became a race against the clock to finish up before Taylor’s possessions were sold.

Opie’s goal was to create a portrait of Taylor through her personal belongings — the decor of her home, the carefully laid out Chanel shoes, and of course, her prized jewelry collection.

Although the two never met, Opie felt a connection with Taylor from the start.

“Elizabeth was an incredibly talented actor, and an even more impressive businesswoman who was important in starting amfAR and bringing awareness to AIDS as an activist,” Opie told Business Insider.

The entire series, comprised of 129 images, can be found in the book “700 Nimes Road“.

Opie gained access to 700 Nimes Road — Taylor’s residential address in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles — through her accountant, who also happened to be Taylor’s.

Taylor’s delicate, feminine belongings, and her eye for pastel colors, created a “quiet and soft” atmosphere, according to Opie.

“I heard of [Taylor’s] death the day that she passed … it was hard even though I didn’t have a personal relationship with her,” Opie said. “I became very emotionally involved with the people who were with her on a daily basis in her life.”

Once Taylor died, the house “wasn’t such a quiet little sanctuary for me anymore,” Opie said. “It was really about trying to finish the body of work as the house was getting ready to be sold as well as the objects.” Luckily, Opie didn’t run into many other roadblocks while finishing up her work. “The trustees and people involved in Elizabeth’s life and her family gave me such incredible permission to make this body of work, and it was a huge gift for me in my life,” she said.

Opie noted that a deeper “sense of nostalgia” began to seep into the items as she finished up the project, and her experience with the work continued even after she was done shooting — editing down her 3,000 images to just 129 for the final product, her book “700 Nimes Road”.

Related Articles

5400 Hammock Drive and Timbaland (Credit: Getty Images)

Timbaland drops $8M on Coral Gables mansion

506 Sunset Drive and Justise Winslow (Credit: Getty Images)

Justise Winslow scores Coral Gables home

Daily Digest Miami

Griffin gets biggest tax bill in Palm Beach, late billionaire’s islands hit the market for $30M

Kim Bokamper and 301 Northwest 127th Avenue in Plantation (Credit: Getty Images)

Former Miami Dolphin Kim Bokamper lists Plantation home

From left: Ashton Coleman, Alexander Goldstein, Craig David and the Mondrian unit (Credit: Wikipedia)

English singer Craig David sells Miami Beach condo

LeBron James with a rendering of Unknwn Wynwood (Credit: Getty Images)

Renderings revealed: River Parc master plan, Unknwn’s Wynwood store

Frank Gore and his Davie home (Credit: Getty Images)

NFL’s Frank Gore lists Davie mansion

She Should Be Dancing, yeah: Bee Gee widow sells waterfront Golden Beach home

She Should Be Dancing, yeah: Bee Gee widow sells waterfront Golden Beach home