AUR congratulates Professor Andrea di Robilant on the upcoming publication of the new book entitled Face to Face: the Photographs of Camilla McGrath, detailing the life and work of the eponymous Italian-American photographer. Di Robilant, who teaches on AUR's English, Writing, Literature & Publishing program, contributes the opening chapter of this book, in which he traces the life of McGrath (née Pecci-Blunt), taking the reader on a journey that shifts between Italy, the US, and France. The reader is granted an intimate insight into all aspects of McGrath's life, from romances and family dynamics to her family's self-imposed exile to the States during Mussolini's regime. We learn of how she rebelled against the expectations set by her ubringing, marrying a man her family deemed unsuitable, together with whom she went on to become a firm fixture in the social circles of the biggest names in music, art, and culture of the day - all the while practicing her passion for photography.
Di Robilant's essay is followed by recollections of the countess contributed by prolific figures in the world of film, literature, and publishing: Griffin Dunne, Vincent Fremont, Harrison Ford, Fran Lebowitz, and Jann Wenner, who offer "an irresistible look at the larger-than-life cultural figures of our time as you have never seen them". These tantalizing insights into the life of McGrath and the luminaries who made up her social circle provide the narrative for the 600-plus photographs captured by McGrath over the course of almost five decades.
Camilla Pecci Blunt, a nonprofessional photographer who grew up between Italy and New York, was well placed to forge the path she did. Her mother was passionate about the arts, took photographs, painted, and collected artists around her, and had galleries in Rome and New York. The more than six hundred photographs in this book from the 1950s to the early 1990s capture our cultural icons in casual, playful moments.
After she married Earl McGrath in 1963, their homes--first in New York and then in Los Angeles--became gathering places for a wholly unexpected mix of people that Camilla documented in these surprising, in-the-moment photographs: Jackie Kennedy, Jerome Robbins, Calvin and Kelly Klein, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Bruce Chatwin, Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Jean Tinguely, Frank O'Hara, Jasper Johns, Allen Ginsberg, the Rolling Stones, Bryan Ferry, Bette Midler, Jerry Hall, Keith Haring, Linda Ronstadt, Jerry Brown, Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski, John Waters, Joan Didion, Angelia Huston, Robert Graham, David Hockney, Michael Crichton, and Barbra Streisand, among many others.
Face to Face: the Photographs of Camilla McGrath will be published by Knopf on October 27, 2020.