From the wrap-around cover featuring Cheryl Tiegs and her husband, Stan Dragoti, enjoying room service at a spa in Carlsbad, through portraits of power women such as Sea Captain Inger Klein Olsen, the feeling in Women: Portraits 1960 – 2000 is natural. Susan Wood has the touch to put women at ease in the unnatural setting of a photo shoot.
Women are her beat
Women are her beat-- but by default. At the time when editorial photography was the purview of men, Susan Wood gladly took the softer assignments, building a reputation as a photographer who could deliver the goods. She photographed furniture and objects for House and Garden. At Mademoiselle she worked in the college and career section, photographing women who were prototypes for working women today. Look Magazine did promote female editors, and Susan was brought into the fold. Her career took off.
Rather than going deeply into one area of photography, such as portraits or film location shooting, she did it all, and did it well. Fortunately for us, through her expansive career we investigate the lives of rich, famous and powerful women.
Memorable photos throughout WOMEN: PORTRAITS 1960 – 2000
Women: Portraits 1960 – 2000 is chock-full of photos that pull you into the controversy and glamour of each decade. We meet Martha Stewart at a naïf walking with her chickens, advocating the simple pleasures of freshness. Then we see her as a siren, bidding us enter her lair of a dark, intimate dining area, set for a feast. Mary McCarthy, author and playwright, was known for her panache. Wood photographs her in dowdy clothing reflecting the painting behind her of three abstract 18th century men. There must be more of a story to this portrait. But we are not privy to this backstory. We must create our own. Sometimes we know part of the story, as with Yoko Ono and John Lennon or Betty Friedan, portrayed warmly by Wood, in contrast to her reputation as a harridan.
A feast for the eyes
For this writer, this photography book, with a short introduction from Susan Wood about why she compiled it, is a time capsule for those of us who shared these forty years. For those new to the era, it is a visual history lesson about powerful women. For all, it is a feast for the eyes.
Photos courtesy of WOMEN: PORTRAITS 1960 – 2000
Reviewer Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater. Involved in the audience since the early 80’s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of our theater scene, our exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation. Ann handles public relations for authors and works on programs to help seniors with neurological movement disorders. Please visit her website for more information.
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