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

The Fisherman's Lily 1 Year Anniversary

"DO NOT BITE AT THE BAIT OF PLEASURE, TILL YOU KNOW THERE IS NO HOOK BENEATH IT." - THOMAS JEFFERSON

The beginning of last year was the start to a very humbling experience. One year ago to this date, after spending over four years writing my first novel, my debut crime-thriller novel, The Fisherman's Lily was published by TouchPoint Press. Some of you may have heard about it, or may have also read it (which I very much so kindly thank you from the bottom of my heart!), but what some of you may not know is the origination of the story. Where it comes from. What made me finally want to put my metaphorical pen down to paper. And with today being my one year anniversary, I wanted to fill my readers with more details about the story behind the written story.

William Buter Yeats.

William Buter Yeats.

So where on Earth did I get this idea from? Well, it all starts back when I was just a teenager. While in high school I took a creative writing class. The teacher read a short story of mine and afterward insisted that I “should be a writer.” I’ve been writing ever since. I initially wrote several more short stories before taking an immediate interest in poetry. Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Butler Yeats were like long-lost friends to me during my teenage angst. When a few of my poems were published while in high school and in college, that sparked a deeper passion to perhaps take my writing a bit more seriously.

 Author Portrait By ©  Gilles Decamps

 Author Portrait By © Gilles Decamps

I began working on a memoir for several years before putting it on the back burner because I felt like I had a lot more to accomplish before completing an enormous project of that kind of magnitude. That and it's deeply personal to write about. That's when a lightbulb went off in my head. Why not take a stab (ha, ha I'm #punny) at fiction? And more in particular: crime fiction. How come? Not long ago, and initially wanting a career within law enforcement, I took it upon myself to receive a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. After obtaining my degree, I moved to New York City to continue pursuing my career as a police officer. But two weeks before entering the police academy, I felt I wasn't being true to my heart. For whatever reason, even with good intentions, it didn't feel right. I also wanted to fall in love, get married and have children, but I wasn't going to share my life with someone if I was in that kind of profession. I would've chosen to only be married to the job. Something was still pulling at my heart's strings. That's when I started ferociously writing every night, just to get the ick out of me and what was going on in my life. It didn't take long before I realized I wanted to change careers to pursue my ambitions as a writer, and very quickly was inspired to write about what almost could have been. And the best part? Writing fiction of course!

Full Book Cover, front & back.

Full Book Cover, front & back.

So, what is my book about? Lily Dietz, is an attractive New York homicide detective who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Her career is hindered by her psychological and physical frailties. Apart from being a borderline alcoholic she is close to being a full-blown manic depressive. With her partner John Fremont, Lily becomes engrossed in the hunt to catch a killer who favors Asian-American women – a category she herself falls into. As the race to unmask the murderer gathers pace, Lily must prevent herself from turning from hunter into prey.

The Fisherman's Lily is like an onion. It has many layers. I would describe the novel to be a mixture of police procedural, detective fiction, thriller/suspense and a family saga. It is dark crime and I would not say it is for everyone (it can get quite gruesome) but other parts of the novel discuss the complexity of our emotions and the human condition, such as feelings of anger, guilt, redemption, sadness … love. And how it all correlates within the relationships we have with others and ourselves.

Book Trailer for The Fisherman's Lily by Suzanne Spiegoski

Here's a fun random fact about my book: I'm a proud German Shepherd owner and in general, a dog lover. I love the breed so much I felt compelled to create a dog character in the book, Cuffs, Lily's beloved K-9 working-line GSD. He is her shadow, her confidant and best friend. It wasn't until after completing The Fisherman's Lily when my real-life dog, MaQ, came into our lives. Now he is my personal cheerleader, muse and hero. ♥

With my muse, MaQ, my German shepherd dog.  ©  Gilles Decamps

With my muse, MaQ, my German shepherd dog. © Gilles Decamps

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Are you into crime fiction? Like the thrill of the chase? Perhaps you're a natural-born bookworm who's looking for something a little different from your usual reading? In honor of this special day I'm doing a book giveaway to one lucky reader! To enter your chance of winning a free, signed paperback copy of The Fisherman's Lily go on my Instagram page (@suzannespiegoski) and just follow the rules. :)

Enter your chance to win a free signed copy of  The Fisherman's Lily  on   Instagram   NOW!

Enter your chance to win a free signed copy of The Fisherman's Lily on Instagram NOW!

Rooftop Vibes © Gilles Decamps

Rooftop Vibes © Gilles Decamps

Got questions about my book or my writing? Leave comments below! I love interacting with new readers and other like-minded blogs, and of course, I can't leave out the familiar faces! Thank you so much for your continued love and support. I am forever grateful for you!

Thanks for stopping by and reading more about my life and my work. Don't forget to go on Instagram and enter your chance to win a free copy of The Fisherman's Lily!

Have a great rest of your Tuesday! The Fisherman's Lily is available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble, in kindle and paperback.

Follow The Fisherman's Lily on Facebook!

Love & xx's,

Source: http://www.suzannespiegoski.com/thefisherm...

Author Interview

Good morning everyone! Check out my first author interview with Eva Phillipson!

Author Interview

The Fisherman's Lily is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Happy Reading :)

Suzanne