Jaime homes in on rich and famous
SINCE celebrated interior photographer Jaime Ardiles-Arce has an open invitation to the homes of the world's rich and famous who demand utmost discretion, the early stages of his conversation with Keeping Posted is, understandably, peppered with pregnant pauses.
His brow is knitted, lips pursed and fingers locked nervously as each question is absorbed and pondered while his mind races around the globe considering which grand dame he might offend if he doesn't weigh his words carefully.
But the ''Ceylon tea'' which New York-based Ardiles fastidiously orders helps loosen his tongue. But only just. So the Rockefellers, the Gettys, the Mellons (and Bob and Susan Burns and Kai-yin Lo nearer home) - who are among his clients - can rest easy.
Since it's the glitterati (Giorgio Armani, Liza Minnelli, Donald Trump et al) who can afford his considerable fees who seek him out, Bolivian-born Ardiles contends that he is ''in that fortunate position in which I can pick and choose who I work for''.
So who has he turned down? Pausing to sip some tea, he blurts out the name of one of Hollywood's most celebrated stars (currently involved in some high-profile engagements connected with her singing career).
''You must promise never to reveal her name,'' he pleads before going on: ''She has contacted me so many times asking if I would photograph her homes. But I always turn her down because I sense she will be trouble.
''I demand, and luckily always receive, complete artistic freedom and control over any project. Without that assurance I will not accept any commission.'' He then mentions this immensely wealthy woman who wanted him to photograph her mansion in Palm Beach. ''Her husband who had a fabulous art collection had died leaving everything to her. The walls of the house were covered in paintings by Picasso, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, the lot. But there was a blank space above the large fire place for which she told me a painting was soon arriving and would I wait till then.
''Eventually she sent word that the painting was in place and when I got to her home I was shocked to find that it was a horrendous painting of herself done by some local artist.
''I refused to photograph the house with that on the wall. And although she was very disappointed she agreed to replace her portrait with a painting by Jackson Pollock.'' We caught up with Ardiles while he was in town to photograph the Grand Hyatt's tasteful new Regency Club duplex. But his lens is not always focused on glamour.
Prior to jetting off to Argentina to photograph one of the homes of Amalia Fortabat, South America's richest woman, he was looking forward to spending an afternoon in the New Territories photographing the crumbling old ancestral home of one of the clans that he spotted while out sightseeing.
As he explains that mission: ''I want to take something of value back with me to the United States.''