When you leaf though the pages of this book you will be amazed about how many creative people Chris Felver has met, and not only that, he has managed to get almost all of them to pose for him. A few of his potential subjects refused, but perhaps being able to start out with a small but potent portfolio of Bay Area poets gave him early on the aura of integrity. It wasn't as though he had been surprising Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee on their honeymoon, no, he was taking black and white studies of Czeslaw Milosz and Jack Hirschmann looking grim. In the decades that followed, Felver took his camera everywhere and waited until the moment was right. He was in New York in the very early eighties and managed to create a whole new body of work with the leading world artists who were there at the time, though he was too bemused, he says, by Warhol to take his picture, he got nearly everyone else. He is a artist himself of course and so I shouldn't speak in the crass language of "gets," however in this book it's plain that what is being sold is the fame of the subjects, the nearly intangible scent of celebrity contact. Though there will be plenty of photographs for each reader in which the reader wil feel a little stupid for not, perhaps, knowing who the subject is. That's what "Google" is for, to recover from moments like this one. And Felver dos provide brief captions under each photo that say, for example, "Jasper Johns: artist" or "Doris Lessing: English fiction writer." For some reason those who have won the Pulitzer Prize get that accolade inserted into their captions too. The subjects are gathered in alphabetical order, which makes for some unusual pairings. One double page spread features Yvonne Rainer on the left and Tony Randall on the right. They could be identical twins!
Fascinating dictionary of contemporary art scene
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
I agree wholeheartedly with the following Wall Street Journal Review of November 30, 2001: "Some of the best specimens of the human animal show up in "The Importance Of Being" by Christopher Felver. And by this I do not mean the "beautiful people" but the accomplished ones - writers, artists, musicians, activists. No pretense here, just straight-ahead, black-and-white portraits of a staggering 436 "creative revolutionaries," as Mr. Felver calls them, photographed by him over the past two decades. He presents here an incredible collection of the most creative spirits of our times and it is fascinating to see the immediacy with which the subjects posed for this bohemian photographer.
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