BootLeg Betty

“Icons and Legends: The Photography of Michael Childers.”

Telegram
Celebrity 2012: Don’t trust anyone. Gag your friends. And take away everybody’s cellphone!
GOSSIP
LIZ SMITH
Monday, October 29, 2012

… A new book appeared in my office the other day, “Icons and Legends: The Photography of Michael Childers.” (Published by Palm Springs Art Museum.)

I was immediately struck, and touched by the cover, a ravishing 1974 portrait of Natalie Wood. I’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.

Childers’ work is lovely. It’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 Childers’ style — “When he clicks, you stay clicked.” Childers was one of the last — perhaps THE very last — to photograph Natalie Wood professionally. (He was a longtime pal.) It is a haunting, dramatic portrait that was intended for use during Natalie’s planned stage debut in “Anastasia.” She never lived to do that. She stares out at us from Childers’ picture. Tense, pensive, but ready for what she hoped the future held. How lovely that Mr. Childers caught her at this penultimate moment.

“Icons and Legends” — a great coffee-table book for celeb and photography lovers.

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