America’s Princess

Twenty-five years after Grace Kelly’s tragic death, Howell Conant’s photographs of her still resonate with the “natural glamour” that changed Hollywood

It was an extraordinary friendship between photographer and subject. Over a period spanning 27 years, from the early years of her Hollywood fame to her tragic car accident in 1982, Howell Conant captured Grace Kelly as she blossomed from a movie legend into a princess and then mother and royal role model. In the process, Conant broke through the cold, goddess-style portrait style that was the vogue and created a new look in Hollywood portraits: natural glamour. Yet throughout, Conant acted not just as her official photographer but also her confidante, who had access to Grace in her most private moments. Read more »

Celebrity Conquers America

King George lost us; Princess Di won us back. Certain changes made this possible.

If celebrity death tells us about celebrity life, then one great celebrity death of 1997 was a mother lode of information. The untimeliness contributed to the universal sense of shock, as did the violence, while the unsolved mysteries of the case added a macabre police-blotter spell. But a quick, rough, unexplained end alone did not account for the emotions that were unleashed—from Elton John’s distress at the funeral to the many flowers left at the death site of Gianni Versace. Read more »

Celebrities

The sad story of a magazine born eighty years too soon

Some time ago a man lit on a publishing idea that seemed obvious enough but apparently had never been tried before: since people are most interested in the doings of famous people, why not devote a magazine to just that? And, for good measure, have it well illustrated? And so the new publication appeared—in 1895. Read more »