LA-based photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank, who started her career at Vogue, has the type of style and beauty (not to mention some seriously gorgeous hair!) that’s more often found in front of the camera rather than behind it. With her second book, Young Hollywood, just released, she found some time to chat with us about her favorite luggage, the Prada boots she takes everywhere, and the South American country that’s on her bucket-list.
How often do you travel?
I have a one-year-old son so I am more thoughtful about trips and traveling now then I once was. I still travel, but not like I used to. A baby is a game-changer in the most amazing way, so now I only pick trips that work for all of us.
Favorite destinations to travel to?
South of France, Napa Valley, and Southampton
Where is your “happy place” to visit?
Napa Valley. I grew up spending my summers there and it has always held a very pure place in my heart. My family owns a vineyard and winery: Swanson Vineyards, and it is still the place I call home. I was married in my back yard and spent most of my childhood running through our vineyards.
What brand of luggage do you use?
I use T. Anthony luggage. My parents always traveled with T. Anthony luggage and so I grew up with it and always had it too. I used to have the all black collection, but when I got married my husband bought me the red collection (my favorite color!) with my new initials ‘CSF’ written in gold. This was 5 years ago and they are so beat up now. I need a whole new set…but I think I’ll stick with the red.
What brand of carry-on bag do you bring?
T. Anthony in red.
What type of camera do you bring?
Nikon D800. I have always shot with a Nikon, and my mom always used a Nikon too. I’m loyal to Nikon and think they take the best portraits. I have had this version for a couple of years and have loved it (I was actually wait-listed for it!). I shot my second book Young Hollywood with it. And I love my camera strap too—it’s vintage…and lucky!
Do you have any travel rituals or superstitions?
I pray during takeoff and landing.
Aisle or window?
Definitely the aisle. I get claustrophobic. I need to be able to get up!
Preferred in-flight beverage?
Spicy tomato juice.
What are you in-flight travel essentials?
Water, magazines, my journal and a good movie or book.
How do you entertain yourself at 35,000 feet?
Reading, writing and enjoying the complete ‘check out’ from my cell phone. I just finished the Slim Keith biography called Slim: Memories of a Rich and Imperfect Life. And I really enjoyed the movie Palo Alto—I love dramas.
What’s your go-to uniform for the plane?
Jeans and a blazer.
What are the items you never leave town without?
My journal and my camera.
How do you deal with jet lag?
Coffee and green tea.
What’s your exercise routine when you’re on the road?
Long walks. I love a long walk because it’s a great way to sightsee, get some exercise, and clear your head.
How do you manage your health + eating routine when you’re away from home?
I try to eat low carb and low sugar when I travel.
Favorite item to order from room service?
Everything. I love room service !
Favorite item from the hotel mini-bar?
Chocolate covered almonds .
One surprising thing you always pack?
Hard drives. I always run out of memory on my computer so I always pack hardrives so I can take as many photos as I like without having to worry.
Are you an over-packer or under-packer?
Do you have a packing strategy?
Sadly no, but I should. I just pack as many options as I can in hopes of creating as little stress as possible upon arriving.
What are your favorite items to pack in your suitcase?
Jeans—I wear them almost every day. Actually, I’ve been collecting jeans since I was 12 years old. I own so many brands but right now my favorites are an old vintage pair of Levis. I also bring a hat to protect me from the sun. I love a good pair of boots—I bring my favorite brown, suede Prada boots I have had for years. They are great for walking and I still wish I’d bought 3 pairs! I always make sure to pack a bathing suit—right now I’m very into my high waisted Milia Mills retro bikini. A pair of sunglasses is also a must—I’m loving my tortoise Celine pair.
What beauty-essentials do you travel with?
I love all Dr. Hauschka products and have been using them since I was 18. My skin is really dry so I love the richness of the products. I also love that they’re holistic. The Revitalizing Day Cream is amazing because it’s super hydrating but still light. The Cleansing Milk face wash and the moisturizng face mask are also incredible—and the lip balm is awesome! I also live for my Rene Furterer dry shampoo—it gives my hair volume and texture and keeps it clean and fresh between blowouts. I’m a big fan of La Roche-Posey sunscreen 60—I love a tan body but I am very protective of the skin on my face and this sunscreen is great because it’s light and doesn’t weigh my skin down. I also always pack Chanel Sycomore perfume.
If your luggage was lost, what are the 5 items you’d buy at the drugstore?
Have you ever had a travel disaster?
Not really—I’ve been very lucky!
Favorite childhood memory of traveling?
As a family we traveled quite often. We spent a lot of time in Europe and on planes in general. My parents always looked so chic, and my sisters and I were dressed beautifully as well. It gave me a great appreciation for getting ‘dressed to travel’ and to this day I still think it’s important to travel in style and put love into the way you choose to put yourself out into the world. Its a old-world way of thinking but I adore it and I hope to pass that on to my children.
Travel destinations on your bucket-list?
Claiborne Swanson Frank photographed with her son in Napa, California