Celebrity 2012: Donâ€™t trust anyone. Gag your friends. And take away everybodyâ€™s cellphone!
Monday, October 29, 2012
â€¦ A new book appeared in my office the other day, â€œIcons and Legends: The Photography of Michael Childers.â€ (Published by Palm Springs Art Museum.)
I was immediately struck, and touched by the cover, a ravishing 1974 portrait of Natalie Wood. Iâ€™m glad Childers chose Natalie as his cover girl. She needs to be remembered more for her fine acting, and not just the sensational, pointless speculation about her tragic death.
Childersâ€™ work is lovely. Itâ€™s candid, intimate, but never graphic. He tells the story of his subjects without resorting to warts-and-all glare. There is a gentle elegance to his photographs of stars like Demi Moore, Andy Warhol, Lily Tomlin, Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, Christopher Isherwood, John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson.
Rex Reed provides a comment at the end of the book, in which he sums up Childersâ€™ style â€” â€œWhen he clicks, you stay clicked.â€ Childers was one of the last â€” perhaps THE very last â€” to photograph Natalie Wood professionally. (He was a longtime pal.) It is a haunting, dramatic portrait that was intended for use during Natalieâ€™s planned stage debut in â€œAnastasia.â€ She never lived to do that. She stares out at us from Childersâ€™ picture. Tense, pensive, but ready for what she hoped the future held. How lovely that Mr. Childers caught her at this penultimate moment.
â€œIcons and Legendsâ€ â€” a great coffee-table book for celeb and photography lovers.