As with his past series of celebrity relics, in Hi there! Henry Leutwyler coaxes an object’s meanings to the surface in a manner both deadpan and forensic, but with a reverence that makes it come alive—at least in our imagination. Such acute observation reveals an object’s persona, conjuring up its ghosts and memories. Leutwyler thus allows us to intimately explore objects, pregnant with possibility and rich in detail, if we only allow ourselves to do a little bit of digging.
So as we peer into Frank Sinatra’s (1915–98) private pocket phone book from what today seems like the quaintness of the analogue 1970s, we can reliably know Sinatra’s circle and speculate on the meaning of those relationships. The over 100 names and numbers here include direct lines to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Spiro Agnew, Barry Goldwater and other important governmental figures. With connections to American businessmen Walter Annenberg, Laurance Rockefeller, Marvin Davis and John Kluge (at the time reputedly the richest person in the country), Sinatra knew just how to tap into capital. And among his fellow artists who were just a phone call away were Dean Martin, Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, Jerry Lewis and Buddy Rich. We even learn the names of Sinatra’s doctors and dentists—no doubt the best in their profession for Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Henry Leutwyler’s special skill is to sense the importance of this relic and to photograph it as to coax its meanings to the surface. He makes images at once deadpan and forensic, giving us a direct, clear-eyed examination of the object itself, but observed with reverence and respect that seem to make the object come alive, at least in our imagination. – Graham Howe
Henry Leutwyler was born in Switzerland in 1961. In 1985 Leutwyler moved to Paris, where he established himself as an editorial photographer; in 1995 he moved to New York City, where he lives and works today. His photos have been seen in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Leutwyler’s books with Steidl are Neverland Lost: A Portrait of Michael Jackson (2010), Ballet. Photographs of the New Your City Ballet (2012), Document (2016).
Henry Leutwyler: Hi There!
Text by Graham Howe and Henry Leutwyler
Book Design: Henry Leutwyler and Holger Feroudj / Steidl Design
7 x 10.5 in. / 20.3 x 30 cm
US$ 50.00 / € 38.00
Release Date USA: June 2020