Photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank on Wednesday flew back to her native state for the Los Angeles launch of her third book, “Mother and Child” (Assouline). Hosted by Clé de Peau Beauté and Carolina Herrera at the Hotel Bel Air’s Wolfgang Puck restaurant, the cocktail party and seated dinner included several of the book’s 70 portrait subjects, among them Elizabeth Chambers, Madelynn Furlong, Tori Praver, Grace Rodriguez, Tylynn Nguyen and Amanda Booth, along with Angela Fink, Nathan Turner, Geri Hirsch, Rebecca De Ravenel, Annelise Peterson Winter, Tim White, Emma Grede and Samantha Traina.
Missing were the subjects of one particularly poignant photo of four generations of the Bush family, taken at their compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. “It was one of most magical moments,” said Swanson Frank. “The four generations had not been captured together, and to see them in their most sacred land, I had goosebumps. With Barbara Bush senior having just passed away, I hope it will become something they can pass down through generations.”
Swanson Frank said that her first book, “American Beauty,” was much more focused on women and their careers, but it was while she was pregnant with her first son and living in Los Angeles working on her second book, “Young Hollywood,” that she got the idea for “Mother and Child.”
“I think I needed to live my life to get experience to complete the book. I had my second child two years ago, so what I was experiencing — and still am — went hand-in-hand with the book,” she said.
“With ‘Young Hollywood,’ I didn’t know anyone in L.A. and I was very much an observer of culture and rising stars. With this book I wanted to put my heart in it and connect with humans in more meaningful work. It’s a mix of people I’m close to or have admired from afar.”
She said the intimate shoots, during which she also interviewed the subjects, created connections with those she was just meeting for the first time. She doesn’t yet have a fourth book subject in mind, saying, “I almost can’t see past it because I’m still very much living this book. In six years I’ve given birth to three books and two babies, so I’m always pregnant with something. Maybe a third baby next,” she joked.