Vanity Fair: The Portraits brings together 300 iconic portraits from Vanity Fair’s 95-year history in a remarkable book that captures the image of modern fame the magical thing that happens when individual talent and beauty (and sometimes genius) is caught in the spotlight of popular curiosity and passion. The photographers from Edward Steichen and Cecil Beaton to Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino are a glittering and celebrated group themselves. Their portraits have become the iconic likenesses of the best-known figures from the worlds of art, film, music, sports, business, and politics.
From legends such as Pablo Picasso, Amelia Earhart, Cary Grant, and Katharine Hepburn to the stars, writers, athletes, style icons, and titans of business and politics of today, Vanity Fair: The Portraits offers an authoritative roster of talent and glamour in the 20th century.
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Graydon Carter is the editor of Vanity Fair. David Friend is editor of creative development at Vanity Fair and author of Watching the World Change.
Christopher Hitchens is a journalist, literary critic, and social commentator. He is the author most recently of the bestselling God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
Terence Pepper, curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, was awarded an OBE for services to photography and art.
Vanity Fair magazine has a reputation as one of the preeminent showcases for portraits in the world, and this book gathers together a good chunk of them in all their glossy, artificial splendor. There's almost as much celebrity behind the lens as in front of it: Edward Steichen, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, David LaChapelle and, of course, Annie Leibovitz are all included, and the portraits themselves amount to a who's who of culture and politics, with the quality of the images justifying the inclusion of the occasional lesser-known figures. The photographs have been arranged to supply the reader with subtle (and not so subtle) visual and cultural frisson: what are we meant to think when Joseph Goebbels is juxtaposed with Richard Perle? In a face-off between Rob Lowe and Louise Brooks, who has the most glamorous jaw line? For posing questions such as this, and for the production values and sheer scale, not to mention introductory essays by Graydon Carter, Christopher Hitchens, Terence Pepper and David Friend, this is a book that will no doubt be adorning the coffee tables of the world's culture brokers for many years to come. (Sept.)
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