Henry Leutwyler Interview — Document

Document   Book Cover: The .38 caliber revolver used to assassinate John Lennon. (Photograph by  Henry Leutwyler )

Document Book Cover: The .38 caliber revolver used to assassinate John Lennon. (Photograph by Henry Leutwyler)

When I think of my favorite genres in photography: portraiture, still life, crime-scene - I never imagined it could be all be done by one single photographer. That's until I discovered Henry Leutwyler. He is best known for his celebrity portraits and his work have been published in the likes of Vanity Fair, National Geographic, and Vogue. In his new book, Document Henry encompasses a vast range of objects from iconic moments owned by fascinating people throughout history, pop culture, the arts and sports. These fields include his very own heroes (and villains because "not everything in life is cute"), as Henry carefully archives the good, the bad, and the even the ugly, or rather tragic.

Such as the captivating cover of Document, which displays the .38 caliber revolver that killed John Lennon, each photograph offers a humanizing chronicle of society: Where we've been and where we're going.

Audrey Hepburn's Valentine portable typewriter. (Photograph by  Henry Leutwyler )

Audrey Hepburn's Valentine portable typewriter. (Photograph by Henry Leutwyler)

The objects are completely separated from their contexts and owners (excerpts are cleverly hidden in the back of the book) and what remains and what's been left behind, are traces both in a historical artifact-like nature and one where dreams are made of. A masterfully crafted book of an unconventional collection of 124 images such as Mahatma Ghandi's sandal, Julia Child's madeleine baking tray, Jimi Hendrix's red Fender, Gene Kelly's beaten up Converses, the mechanical prop hand from the original 1933 King Kong movie, and more, it has taken over a decade to complete.  

So when I had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Leutwyler, I had lots of questions. The biggest question? What 'pulled the trigger' to get going on such a demanding (and expensive) series. The initial idea of conveying stories through people's possessions in Document really came together after working on two specific but isolated projects. It first started when Leutwyler was commissioned by the Elvis Presley Estate roughly ten years ago where he spent nearly a month photographing Elvis’ personal effects, including his comb, eyeglasses, prescription bottles, toy cars and gold-plated microphone. Even down to Lisa Marie's birth certificate. 

He then went on to do an assignment for Mother Jones on gun control. Leutwyler by chance came across the .38 caliber revolver used to assassinate John Lennon. While he ended up taking a photograph of that gun, the start of something bigger began to brew. And this is what helped jumpstart Document

John Lennon's blue-tinted sunglasses. (Photograph by  Henry Leutwyler ) 

John Lennon's blue-tinted sunglasses. (Photograph by Henry Leutwyler

Andy Warhol's paintbrush. (Photograph by  Henry Leutwyler ) 

Andy Warhol's paintbrush. (Photograph by Henry Leutwyler

"Photography is not open heart surgery on newborns. We don't save lives. While I believe we're not performing heart surgery, I do believe photographs have the power to change the world." -Henry Leutwyler

This is precisely answered my next question – what's the 'big picture'? The consistency of the book is rather subtle but profound. Leutwyler's minimal style strongly express the right to think and feel. Nothing is instant. When you look at the photographed objects you want to stare for a while, you want to touch them; smell them; perhaps even reminisce in with feelings of nostalgia, melancholy, triumph, rage, sadness, joy. All very raw human emotions. But what underlies in Document is not its sheer beauty of mementos/sentiments and the way it can be carried through your own memories, but the power it has to compel you to learn something.

And to make an impact on the world, Leutwyler decided to use the first photograph that started it all, the photograph of the gun that assassinated John Lennon and donate all proceeds of the sale of the print to Everytown, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Something's gotta give and Leutwyler is doing just that.    

Of course, I had to mention a few of my own favorite heroes, and yes, perhaps villains. My father would have loved to see Muhammad Ali's glove. In fact, he met him once in person at a hotel in Indiana. We both loved watching boxing films together, a tradition going all the way back to the original 1979 film, The Champ. I still cry to this day watching that movie. And I'm still madly in love with the art of boxing. See how much can be grabbed from a single image? And all precisely from an object of the rich & famous. 

Other favorable mentions: Bob Marley's hat and guitar, along with Bob Dylan's harmonica, Jimi Hendrix's red Fender, and Michael Jackson's glove. Some of my all-time favorite musicians, they all had something special and I think that's what, maybe partially, set their destinies and certainly helped change the world as well. I am still mesmerized by their music to this day and that, at least to me, is significant. Even just looking at the objects, I can hear the tunes and feel the beat in my heart. It makes me want to dance and shout all at once. But only if I can jump into James Gandolfini's Cadillac while doing so (and yeah, tagging along a few of Avedon's 'tools' for a shoot of my own.) 

James Gandolfini's Cadillac. (Photograph by  Henry Leutwyler )

James Gandolfini's Cadillac. (Photograph by Henry Leutwyler)

Richard Avedon's studio A-clamp. (Photograph by  Henry Leutwyler )

Richard Avedon's studio A-clamp. (Photograph by Henry Leutwyler)

Portrait by  ©   Suzanne Spiegoski  

Portrait by © Suzanne Spiegoski 

FUN FACTS


  • FIRST LOVE: STILL LIFE

  • BIGGEST FEAR: DEATH

  • BIGGEST PET PEEVE: I DESPISE ENTITLEMENT & ENTITLED PEOPLE.

  • GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: BEING ABLE TO MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH.

  • GREATEST REGRET: CAN NEVER BUY BACK TIME.

  • IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?: NOTHING. 

  • FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHER: MR. PENN. UNRIVALED TO THIS DAY.

  • FAVORITE FOOD: JAPANESE

  • FAVORITE PLACE IN NYC: THE NOGUCHI MUSEUM

  • FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD: VENICE, ITALY

Leutwyler will be exhibiting photographs from Document at the Foley Gallery in New York City beginning November 3. I'll be attending the opening reception, so stay tuned for a recap of the event through my Insta Stories & SnapChat! 

LOVE & XX'S,

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Source: www.henryleutwyler.com

When Bloggers Do Dumbo

WEARING: MOTO RIPPED MOM SHORTS | BASIC MEDALLION BANDANA | 
ARTIFACT NECKLACE | EXPRESS DENIM VEST | ALDO BUGIANO STUDDED ANKLE BOOTIES | 
RAY-BAN CLUBMASTERS | SEPCOEUR PARIS SUEDE DRAWSTRING BAG

Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Photo by:  Suzanne Spiegoski
Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Photo by:  Style Tomes

Photo by: Style Tomes

Happy Friday! Last weekend, I met up with two other New York bloggers, Nataliya from Style Tomes & Andrea from Pretty Proper Quaint, to venture a day in Brooklyn. I love to meet like-minded bloggers from the city and do photo shoots. It's a great way to interact and engage with fellow bloggers. And, I'm all about learning and growing, which nevertheless will take place when getting to know others in your field and spending the day with them. Can you believe that I've never visited the Brooklyn Bridge Park since living here for over a decade?! It just goes to show that New York City is filled with endless amounts of adventure and fun.

We stopped at Jane's Carousel for a youthful outing. For $2, you can feel l like a kid again. Besides, you're never too old to go for a spin! And it's a great location for a photo shoot. Whether it's for your kids or a casual photo-op, I find this place to be whimsical and full of laughter and smiles. My kind of energy! We also visited Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass's Yo/Oy sculpture, which is a wonderful addition to New York's public art. I love to see anything that has to do with art, especially street art and graffiti. On the way back to the city, I suggest we take the East River Ferry, as this is also something I've never done! What's great about this form of transportation is you hop from Brooklyn, to Queens, to Manhattan, and even Governor's Island when in season. And bonus... you can take your dog with you! Can't wait to do it again with MaQ next time!

Coming up on the blog this week, a fusion recipe of a popular summer cocktail from the tropics (getting excited for me and my hubby's 10-yr dating anniversary trip!!!), a newfound love for a skincare product (with a giveaway so keep an eye out!), and a favorite quiche recipe, perfect for the weekend brunch! Stay tuned! :)

 

LOVE & XX'S

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Metropolitan Museum of Art - Part 2

Gossip Girl here. ;-) Follow me on   Instagram  ! ✖️⚪️✖️⚪️, 💋 @suzannespiegoski

Gossip Girl here. ;-) Follow me on Instagram! ✖️⚪️✖️⚪️, 💋 @suzannespiegoski

Happy Hump Day, y'all! Yesterday's post I reflected on some of my personal favorites at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Today I'm sharing the Costume Institute’s Fall 2015 newest exhibition, Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style, which focuses on the internationally renowned style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes. She is one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the 20th century. A designer herself, she was also a muse to many — and was quickly recognized as the quintessential of French style. She is a classic but modern – beauty, like Audrey Hepburn, whose elongated neck, refined profile and couture clothes were well known to fashionistas here in New York as well as Europe. Emilio Pucci called her “Giraffina,” or “baby giraffe”; Yves Saint Laurent called her “an ivory unicorn”; Oleg Cassini found her “elegant to the point of distraction”; and Valentino named her “the last Queen of Paris”. She eventually went professional in the 1980s after raising money on her own and was no longer held back by her aristocratic in-laws from pursuing her career, officially becoming a commercial designer. It is very clear from this exhibition that Jacqueline's taste and style were timeless as opposed to trendy. In fact, her clothes are so classic – whether she designed them or simply chose them from the couture houses of others, it’s hard differentiating which decade they were made. I guarantee you, you could step into any of her clothes and feel magnificently dressed. The exhibition is on view in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center until February 21, 2016. If you're at all into fashion, this is a must-see! Now let's go take a look inside! (Scroll down to see more photos from the exhibition.)

Love & xx's,

Entrance to the exhibition.  Jacqueline de Ribes , 1955 Photograph by Richard Avedon, © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Entrance to the exhibition. Jacqueline de Ribes, 1955
Photograph by Richard Avedon, © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Photos of Jacqueline de Ribes through the years.

Photos of Jacqueline de Ribes through the years.

The many, many magazine articles on Jacqueline de Ribes with family and friends.

The many, many magazine articles on Jacqueline de Ribes with family and friends.

"Narcissism" photograph of Jacqueline de Ribes by Richard Avedon for The New Yorker magazine.

"Narcissism" photograph of Jacqueline de Ribes by Richard Avedon for The New Yorker magazine.

"My mirror, my only truthful advisor." -Jacqueline de Ribes

"My mirror, my only truthful advisor." -Jacqueline de Ribes

Yves Saint Laurent   haute couture A/W 1980-81

Yves Saint Laurent haute couture A/W 1980-81

Costume du Bal Oriental, 1969. Isn't this some supreme inspo or what?!

Costume du Bal Oriental, 1969. Isn't this some supreme inspo or what?!

The Masked Ball Series. "Ball's were not for one's amusement, they were for being ravishing." -Jacqueline de Ribes

The Masked Ball Series. "Ball's were not for one's amusement, they were for being ravishing." -Jacqueline de Ribes

Fringe Envy.

Fringe Envy.

"Glamorous people bring something to others. They are seductive, attractive—and it has nothing to do with frivolity. Glamour sticks to people. An object is not glamorous, but places where people go are glamorous. That's why New York is the glamour capital of the world." ♥

"Glamorous people bring something to others. They are seductive, attractive—and it has nothing to do with frivolity. Glamour sticks to people. An object is not glamorous, but places where people go are glamorous. That's why New York is the glamour capital of the world." ♥

YSL Love.

YSL Love.

Exquisite colors for evening wear.

Exquisite colors for evening wear.

A Christian Dior haute couture gown owned by Jacqueline de Ribes.

A Christian Dior haute couture gown owned by Jacqueline de Ribes.

Flights of Fantasy.

Flights of Fantasy.

"Elegance. It's an attitude. A frame of mind. An intuition, a refusual, a rigor, a research, a knowledge. The attitude of elegance is also a way of behaving." -Jacqueline de Ribes.

"Elegance. It's an attitude. A frame of mind. An intuition, a refusual, a rigor, a research, a knowledge. The attitude of elegance is also a way of behaving." -Jacqueline de Ribes.

Source: http://metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/...