Clothing designer Jennifer Butler is the real design pioneer of 305 Knowlton.
When she needed a cool location to shoot her 2008 spring line, she used a character from the movie “Diva,” a 1981 French film I suddenly want to hunt down, as her male muse.
“I wanted the shoot to be sort of space age in rubble,” says Ms. Butler.
Her friend Kate Schneider, who is also a model and commercial real estate agent, knew the owner of the building. Today the 19th-century factory building is signing up tenants from the world of art and design. But a couple of years ago, its transition from the industrial era was incomplete.
“I told her I wanted to have a gray canvas, and we shoot spring in the dead of winter, so we shot inside. Except it was unheated, and Peter Baker, the photographer and I almost died from inhaling carbon monoxide from the propane heater,” Ms. Butler remembers. “Ya know, other than that…great shoot!!”
“This past fall we shot in the abandoned Poli Place,” she recalls, referring to the 1920s movie theater in downtown Bridgeport. “That was just fantastic. I love working with Peter. I love the roller skate shot, with the puzzle, and the elevator shaft shot of he girl in the gown is fabulous. But it was just freezing — no heat, and dirty, and the hair people kept blowing fuses with the dryers. When we shot Poli, Andrew Servetas let me use Las Vetas Bridgeport as a base for hair and make up so that didn’t happen again. I like doing studio, but location is great.”
Mr. Baker used Ms. Butler’s own house for a “’60s housewife” shoot.
“Maybe I should just stay home and shoot next time,” Ms. Butler says.