Saturday, May 3, 2008

Picture This: Richard Amsel

I recently discovered that I have to add another entry to the long list of Things I Will Never Do: have my portrait done by Richard Amsel. I remember, as a child, staring at his illustrations - on record covers, magazines (he was a TV Guide stalwart), and movie posters - and thinking he was just... just...

Now I know what I was thinking: camp as a row of tents. But definitely gifted, and, at his best, up there with the best.

He did a lot to set Bette Midler's image in the popular imagination:

He burnished La Streisand's legend as a quirky beauty:

And he made many, many turgid seventies films seem a whole lot more stylish and interesting than actually they were:

I think, if I had been able to be one of his subjects,
it might have turned out something like Miss Lansbury,
seen here waving from the bottom right, opposite Miss Davis.

We lost him, as so many others, in the mid-eighties, and we're the poorer for it.

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