Something Else About Hunter Thompson
Thompson took his own life at sixty-seven. Shortly before his death, he said it was seventeen years more than he had ever “needed or wanted” to live. Once, Hunter stole a set of antlers from the home of Ernest Hemingway (his widow returned them only after Thompson’s death). He also used the same method of suicide as Hemingway – a shotgun wound in the head.
Chloe Sells became the writer’s assistant when she was 20 years old. In 2003, a woman approached her in a bar and offered her a night job. This woman was Thompson’s wife, Anita. Sells worked for Hunter for more than a year while photographing his place all the while. She spoke to Bird in Flight about her memories of Thompson and his Woody Creek estate.
Photographer from the USA, lives in the UK and Botswana. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Participant of personal and group photo exhibitions, author of the books SWAMP (2016) and Flamingo (2017).
— One night, Hunter called me into his kitchen and asked me if I was indeed a photographer. I told him that Taschen had published my photo book. He laughed, and I didn’t argue. Hunter was Hunter. After a moment, he regretted his laughter. Then he said that his whole life was already documented, except for the house. And that ramshackle estate of him in Woody Creek, Owl Farm, definitely needs to be photographed. And from now on, I can photograph the house as much as I want.
I keep in touch with Hunter’s wife from time to time, but more so with his buddies. I hadn’t published these pictures before – it wasn’t the right time. I wanted to add something more to his life story than what had already been said. After some events in my own life and after
many years since his death, I finally decided to do it. Hunter was a wild character but with good manners. I tried everything in a year, but nothing could lift his spirits. Then, on my last night around him, I realized that nothing would make him happy anymore. Since that day, he’d only lived for a month or so.
“Big as All Texas” is one of my favorite photographs. It embodies the spirit of a night at Owl Farm. The picture shows Hunter’s dinner, a cup of coffee, a mouthpiece, a typewriter, and a daily newspaper. I combined this image with the first page of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” with its legendary first sentence: “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” The page is covered with a psychedelic pattern done in the Japanese dyeing technique, suminagashi.
Hunter Thompson believed in objects’ symbolic nature.
Objects were meaningful to Hunter. I think he believed in their symbolic nature and ability to tell stories. Like a true homebody, he collected the world around him and filled his Owl Farm with objects that made up stories, old and new. Thompson’s life experiences influenced his prophetic tendencies and added depth to his work. He wrote of Owl Farm in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: “My main luxury in those years – a necessary luxury, in fact – was the ability to work in and out of my home-base fortress in Woody Creek. It was a very important psychic anchor for me, a crucial grounding point where I always knew I had love, friends, and good neighbors. It was like my personal Lighthouse that I could see from anywhere in the world – no matter where I was or how weird, crazy and dangerous it got.”
Фотографии Хлои Селлс из книги HOT DAMN! предоставлены издательством GOST Books