Phoenix-based Steve Craft has established himself as an accomplished portrait photographer who knows how to highlight a subject in its element. In a recent project for Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine, he journeyed to nearby Scottsdale, AZ to photograph the Golden Keys, an idyllic housing community developed in the 1960s, and the residents who live there.
Steve photographed four residential homes in the 55+ community built in the early sixties. The subjects ranged from interior designers to avid collectors, with each home styled in its unique vision. Steve and the client collaborated to produce a mixture of portraits and architectural images, to highlight the creativity of each homeowner featured.
This active adult neighborhood consists of 184 attached homes that were developed in 1964 by famed Phoenix housing designer Dell Trailor
Scottsdale is a desert suburb of the sprawling city of Phoenix, and the Golden Keys community is nestled at the foot of Camelback Mountain with views of the Papago Buttes. Steve journeyed to the development in mid-May where he spent three days venturing from one house to the next capturing interior, exterior, and portrait shots that would help craft the visual story of the feature.
At first glance, the retro community offers a 1960’s Palm Spring atmosphere to any passerby. The homes present a cohesive and minimalist exterior, but over the last two decades, the residents within have played with how to make their spaces unique.
Each interior featured decor that reflected its owner’s taste and personality. While some had redesigned elements in the interior of their historic homes to suit modern tastes, the exteriors maintain their classical charm. Steve took care to capture every detail of these meticulously designed rooms as he wanted each home to speak for itself.
The homes were beautifully styled, I wanted to take my time so I could find the right angle for each.
To showcase each room’s artistry as a whole, Steve determined a couple of angles that would provide him with wide shots. Given the tight quarters in some of the homes, it wasn’t always easy to work himself in and out of these spaces.
The only challenge was cramming into corners to get wide enough coverage without disturbing any decor!
One subject Steve was overjoyed to meet was designer Jo Ann Tull, whose famous late husband created some of the art that hangs in her current home. Jo Ann’s remodeled house features a new glass entry that mirrors the high ceilings as well as a loft space built to elevate and open the room. When shooting her portrait, Steve staged Jo Ann as a centerpiece to these architectural features, crediting her individual style as the heart of her home.
While the design of each house varies from minimalist to maximalist, the community evokes a feeling of stepping back in time. Each resident has lived their life collecting pieces that hold memories of places they no longer call home. Steve lends his experience in both architectural and portrait photography to help the subjects tell their stories through the world they have unlocked at the Golden Keys.