Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Neverland Lost, A Portrait of Michael Jackson

I presume this may come as a wee bit of a shock to many readers, but the world of fashion has never exactly been my playground.  Do I appreciate a well-coiffed dame or a dapperly clad gentleman?  Most certainly.  But my idea of diversifying my wardrobe is ordering the same Gap.com polo in varying hues.  Most recently, for instance, I am pleased to share that I purchased 3 long sleeve knit polos... in charcoal gray, heather gray, and slate gray (my refined sensibility is profoundly subtle).

I mention this because, ironically, fate has dropped me smack dab in the middle of the runway of many people who make a living in fashion photography.  While it's a realm in which I have very little knowledge or expertise, photography itself certainly harbors a great deal of intrigue for me.

Despite the fairly common conception that fashion and photography can be materialistic, pretentious, and exclusive (especially in New York City), my ex introduced me to some of the most talented and acclaimed artists in the field who personify quite the opposite traits.  The one photographer who, beyond doubt, made the greatest personal impression on me is Henry Leutwyler (each of his images in this post link to his website; mine link  elsewhere).

To solely credit him as a fashion photographer would be a great disservice, however, because after browsing his website for even just a moment, it becomes immediately apparent that Henry Luetwyler is a jack of all genres.

I have had the extreme privilege of dining with Henry and his family on numerous occasions.  Though he has shot for Vogue, New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Esquire, and captured portraits of some of the world's most powerful and influential men and women, you will find behind it all a man of unprecedented humility, gentleness, and warmth... and extreme generosity of spirit.

One of my fondest experiences with Henry Leutwyler involved him introducing me to Takahachi Japanese restaurant in Tribeca (with a second location in the East Village).  While he and his breathtaking, hilarious, and charming wife guided D and I through a flawless sushi dinner ending with green tea mille crepes, the highlight of my night was getting to know his two gorgeous children, with whom I hit it off as soon as I ordered the Hannah Montana roll (salmon, blueberry, dijon mustard, and gold leafing) and then shared the Sponge Bob plate with his son.

Needless to say, when I learned that Henry's newest book is being released later this spring, I couldn't wait to order a copy.  Some of my very favorites of his images are his still life photographs.  His immaculate ability to bring to life inanimate artifacts such as Elvis or John Lennon's glasses fascinates me beyond words.  So when I discovered that he had been granted access to catalog some of the most prized possessions of the King of Pop, I knew he had a winning book on his hands.

According to Amazon.com, Neverland Lost, A Portrait of Michael Jackson presents a "record of the contents of the late Michael Jackson's famous Peter Pan paradise at the Neverland Ranch, in Santa Barbara, California. Leutwyler gained privileged access to Jackson's possessions when they were due to be auctioned off (but were eventually withdrawn), shortly before Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. Creating incredible taxonomies of Jackson's huge array of possessions, as they were briefly exhibited at the Ranch, Leutwyler subjects these items to a degree of scrutiny that makes the viewer feel she or he could slip on one of those iconic spangly gloves. It is of course Jackson's performance accessories-the accessories by which he was instantly identifiable to all, such as the gloves, the hats and shoes-that leap out of this fascinating volume. Laying bare the components and props of the Michael Jackson myth, these photographs create a strange and fantastical visual story of 'The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up,' at the moment he was forced to leave Neverland."

Copies are already available for pre-order now.

1 comment:

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