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You Should Have Been With Me Hardcover – October 15, 2010
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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Shaffer it seems rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous: fashion moguls Halston, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein are included in the book along with several shots of Andy Warhol. Actually he and Warhol swap photographs of each other. Additionally there are photographs of Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Gloria Vanderbilt, (does she always smile in photographs?) Julie Hagerty, Anjelica Huston, Rachel Ward, Mariel Hemingway et al.
Mr. Shaffer provides commentary on some of the photographs. He certainly had a great sense of humor as evidenced in the photograph on page 84 in which he says there are four points of interest: his own Mercedes, a lone Gucci loafer and Sharon Hammond's smile "gets two points for lighting this photo." Trust me when I tell you that your eyes are drawn first neither to the automobile, the loafer nor the sunshine of Ms. Hammond's smile.
Most of the photographs appear to be shot with strobe lighting with the source of light directed straight on the models. Two of my favorite photographs, however, are the exception to the rule. The photographer's wife JoAnna McCarthy Shaffer (p. 62) is beautifully lit in a style reminiscent of Hollywood photographer George Hurrell. And the photograph shot in natural light of the twelve-year-old Brooke Shields going on twenty (pp. 118-119) is exquisite beyond description. I return to this perfectly backlit photograph again and again. Another intriguing photograph is the portrait of Harie Von Wijnberge (p. 237), one of the few shots of men included in this volume. Like any good photograph, this one invites you in even though you do not know the subject-- surely the mark of a fine artist.
As I looked at this very large collection of photographs, most of them formal fashion shots, I wanted to see a second companion book with photographs of family members-- only two small shots are included of his young children-- and friends in more relaxed, informal portraits. Unfortunately, although Mr. Shaffer did not live to see this book published, there must be negatives and/or prints stored away somewhere. Perhaps someone associated with the artist's estate will publish such to supplement this arty-- in the best sense of the word-- book.
My only complaint about this stunningly printed book-- certainly minor-- is that the pages are not always numbered and there is no index at the back of it with all the photographs reproduced in postage-stamp size and labeled.
But words simply do not convey the glossy magic he performed when he was behind the lens of a camera, as this splendid book (an homage actually) demonstrates. This is a huge nad heavy book - almost as heavy as the legacy Shaffer left behind. Beautiful women in outrageous fashions, the really big name designers (Halston, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein) are here along side images of Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Uma Thurman, Grace Jones, Gloria Vanderbilt, Anjelica Huston, Rachel Ward, Mariel Hemingway etc etc etc. Models and stars and celebrities all pawed to be captured by Shaffer's imaginative camera. The contents of this book relive the 60s, 70s, 80s for us and as the title leaves the viewer at the end of this book - 'You should have been there with me.' This is a terrific memoriam to a gifted talent - how better to say goodbye than to indulge ourselves in his art! Grady Harp. November 10