The annual Oscar party by U.S. American magazine Vanity Fair is not only one of the most coveted dates in every major Hollywood star’s diary, over the last ten years the parties themselves have gained legendary status. After the awards ceremony all the beautiful, famous, rich and glamorous congregate there regularly for the ultimate gettogether. For ten years Larry Fink was the magazine’s official party photographer. Schirmer/Mosel has just brought out the illustrated book The Vanities. Hollywood Parties 2000-2009; with more than 90 full-page images it provides an intensive insight into the magnificent photographs Larry Fink garnered: Shot for shot a hit!
In Hollywood – the world of the false promise of flawless beauty, endless power and fabulous wealth – professional self-presentation is a compulsory daily exercise. The parties see potential rivals, enemies, scroungers, bloodsuckers, watchdogs, vultures and sociopaths convene, comments Luc Sante in his introductory text on the book. Larry Fink’s photographs paint an unvarnished portrait of these colorful partygoers. Far removed from the posing we customarily experience from stars, Fink takes shots from close up that are less interested in celebrity per se and are characterized more by the love of revealing details and the magic of the moment. The photographer operates like a polite “guerilla”: he sneaks through the celebrity jungle, sets his sights on something and shoots before disappearing from the scene just as quickly. The photographic products of this moment of seeming intimacy are in part unexpected details – a hand, a glass, a back, a pair of legs. They produce an extraordinary tension and are of extremely intense atmospheric impact. The party noise, the whispering of guests is virtually tangible.
Larry Fink treats every guest the same. According to him his secret is that he often had no idea who the people were – for him they are “just people”. And indeed, the result of Larry Fink’s photographic observations is exceedingly human.
Hollywood Parties 2000-2009
With texts by Luc Sante,
Ash Carter and Larry Fink
140 pages , 92 duotone plates
€ 49.80, £ 49.95, US $ 68.00