Behind the Lens With Swiss Celebrity Photographer Henry Leutwyler
Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Michael Jackson’s dancing shoes and Elvis Presley’s TV with a bullet hole in it … Twelve years ago, Swiss celebrity photographer Henry Leutwyler decided to take pictures of everyday objects that once belonged to his idols. Now, he’s brought together 124 of these in his new book, Document.
THE RED BULLETIN: You became famous thanks to your portraits of the stars. Why did you photograph their belongings?
HENRY LEUTWYLER: Because objects often say more about their owners than photos do.
How do you mean?
These days, magazine portraits are enormously retouched. When it came to the objects in the book, I set about my work with the sober-mindedness of a photographer at a crime scene: I took the photos from above. They are harsh, undoctored images.
How do you come across objects like Elvis’s TV set? The King’s family invited me to Memphis to take pictures of his legacy for the book Elvis by the Presleys.
What’s the story behind the bullet hole?
Elvis was a gun fanatic — but clearly not a fan of TV news.