The first Act in Bill Hayward's stunning Chasing Dragons: An Uncommon Memoir in Photographs is a series of "traditional portraits." While he includes images that one would describe as "traditional," others hint at Bill's impulse toward abstraction and experimentation. President Ronald Reagan, for the cover of Fortune magazine, appears Presidential; on closer examination you can see that Bill has captured--in the tilt of Reagan's head, his slightly raised eyebrow, his lips parted and his arms crossed--the former president's belligerence.There's playfulness in the portraits of dancers, with whom Bill has a unique sympathy that he's nurtured for his entire career. I love the portrait of New York City Ballet's Edward Villella. Only a true dance lover would know to capture Villella when his hands are arranged in the signature Balanchine style; fingers loose and separated so that when the dancer is in motion, the audience sees the entire hand. McCarthy-era attorney Roy Cohn looks appropriately sinister. An aging Milton Berle seated before a painting of cabbage roses reveals the dark side characteristic of so many comedians. Here's someone you know and love; his stance and expression daring you to guess at what he's thinking. What was he thinking?
(Ed note: This week we're featuring photographs from Bill Hayward's Chasing Dragons: An Uncommon Memoir in Photographs. Find yesterday's post here. sdh)