Chuck Close’s Celebrity Portraits for Vanity Fair

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Chuck Close is best known as a photorealist painter, but he is also interested in photography.  Close achieved amazing results as a hyperrealist portrait painter working from gridded photographs.  Suffering from a condition known as Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, Close is unable to recognize faces.  Because of this condition Close was drawn to painting and photographing portraits.  A seizure left him partially paralyzed in 1988 and after that he continued to paint, but had to adopt new techniques.

Recently Close created a series of portraits for Vanity Fair.  Close decided to use poloroids so that his subjects could immediately see the image.  After every shot he and his subject viewed the photograph so they could decide what to change for the next one. “No hair, no make-up, no wardrobe, comb your own hair,” were the guidelines Close gave his subjects.  He didn’t want to produce “glamour shots,” and it was important that his subjects played an active role in the process, and moreover, that they trusted him.  Seeking to show the “humanity” in each of his celebrity subjects Close wasn’t concerned about flattery or status, but rather with accuracy.  The results are a series of distinguished and honest portraits. Check out the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair

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