Vanity Fair: The Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images

Graydon Carter, Author, David Friend, Author, Christopher Hitchens, Introduction by . Abrams $65 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8109-7298-8

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.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-85514-392-0
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