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New Role

Meet Jessica Lange, professional photographer.

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Photo from Jessica Lange's new book.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Photo from Jessica Lange's new book.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Scoop issue 11/24/2008
The process of enlisting family friend and rock icon Patti Smith to write the book’s introduction was just as fortuitous. After showing Smith her photos at dinner one night, Lange recalls: “I really loved the way she responded.” Years later, when she called Smith about writing a forward, the task was already done. “She said, ‘I already wrote something about your work. I had hoped that if you ever published something, you’d ask me to write the forward,’” says Lange.

What wasn’t as fortuitous was all those years Lange has spent at photo shoots, as a subject. “Those pictures are always posed. I’m not involved in that way of shooting at all,” she says. “The way I like to photograph is very anonymously. I like to be a fly on the wall and not engage the subject.”

And that is what Lange likes best about the art. “It’s an antidote for acting. It is very solitary and acting is so collaborative. You’re always working on someone else’s schedule [with acting]. The great thing about photo is that you’re doing it all on your own.”

That’s not to say that Lange has designs on leaving acting anytime soon. “Photography is not my livelihood. I do it for myself. Acting is what I’ve been doing for 30 years; it’s what I know how to do.”

Lange is back to doing just that in Grey Gardens, the upcoming picture in which she stars opposite Drew Barrymore. “It was a great acting experience,” says Lange, “I haven’t had one of those in over a decade.”


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