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Photography special. Celebrating the medium of our time

The Big Picture

Par Olivia Laing - 1 mn


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Andy Warhol and Diana Vreeland, New York City, 1976, by Annie Leibovitz. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Taschen

Andy Warhol and fashion writer Diana Vreeland share a drink in New York

Andy Warhol and Diana Vreeland were still friends in 1976 , not that you would know it from this picture, taken from a new book of early work by Annie Leibovitz . The camera capture s Warhol’s awkwardness and Vreeland’s monumental self-possession, her fanatical attention to detail. Is she blotting her foundation? Correcting the slashes of blusher she wore on forehead, cheekbones and earlobes? They both loved makeup. For that matter, they’d both made themselves up, twin miracles of self-invention, New York’s reigning arbiters of beauty, celebrity, success and fame.

Both were from immigrant families, albeit from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Warhol’s father was a coal miner, Vreeland’s mother a socialite. What they shared was the certainty of their own hideousness, their abject failure ...

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