Friday, January 2, 2009

Field Trip: Vanity Fair Portraits

-Aside from running into Kid from Kid 'N Play, one of the major highlights of my L.A. trip was seeing LACMA's "Vanity Fair Portraits: 1913-2008" exhibit. The show tracked the magazine's history from its inception in 1913 to its 44-year hiatus and revival in the 1980s. It is safe to say that the nature of the portraits has changed quite a bit, as the exhibit featured everything from a solemn portrait of D.H. Lawrence to a shot of George Clooney surrounded by a gaggle of half-naked models. Most importantly, the collection allows us the opportunity to examine the concept of celebrity and see how it has evolved over the last century.

-Though the magazine came under fire last year for Annie Leibovitz's risque portraits of Miley Cyrus, 2008 also saw the release of two new books commemorating the work of Leibovitz and VF's near-century of iconic portraits. Both Annie Leibovitz at Work and Vanity Fair: The Portraits are available at Amazon, so put those gift cards to good use.

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