Sunday, 13 May 2012

Audrey Hepburn

Copyright @ Taschen

Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) was a Belgian-born British actress and humanitarian.

In 1953, Bob Willoughby had been sent to photograph her at Paramount in Hollywood. Hepburn had just completed the filming of Roman Holiday and publicity photographs were needed. „I really didn't know what quite to make of Audrey when I first saw her. She certainly was not the typical image of a young starlet ... that radiant smile hit me right between the eyes, warming me inside like a shot of whisky.“

"I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally", she once said. And that is, I believe, what her pictures show.

Copyright @ Taschen

What do I associate with her? Most of all her 'Bubikopf' (pixie cut) and the fact that she was often wearing drainpipe trousers. The movies? The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and My Fair Lady come to mind.

Looking at pictures of her always means to be filled up with positive feelings for what she seemed to personify was joyfulness, curiosity, and self-assuredness. She comes across so naturally that I often wondered whether she was actually posing - and of course she was.

It is useful to keep in mind that a photo is a photo is a photo: a two-dimensional reduction of a three-dimensional physical reality that neither smells nor sounds and that has always been only as real as a picture on a page can be. At the same time however — and that is what makes them so intriguing and special — photos radiate something magical. As Maureen Dowd penned in the New York Times: "... in Hollywood, couples who have chemistry on screen often don't like each other off screen, and ones who are involved off screen often don't have any chemistry on screen."

Copyright @ Taschen

There are photographs of private moments and from movie sets to be found in this tome. Bob Willoughby writes: "While many of these photographs of Audrey are well known, they have never before been seen together as a complete collection."

It is an impressive collection of beautiful photographs of a beautiful woman. They emanate, it so seems, who and what she is. In the words of Hubert de Givenchy: "She was an enchantress, inspiring love and beauty. And fairies never quite disappear altogether."

Bob Willoughby
Audrey Hepburn
Photographs 1953-1966
Taschen, Cologne 2012

No comments: