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The Photography of Jessica Lange: Captured by a Star

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Images from 50 Photographs by Jessica Lange - Courtesy of Lange/Powerhouse Books

Jessica Lange knows a little something about being captured. The Academy Award-winning actress rose to fame in 1976’s King Kong when she played a damsel abducted by a giant ape. Since then she’s been captured on film in such notable movies as Frances, Tootsie and the recent Emmy-nominated HBO film, Grey Gardens.

But in Jessica Lange’s latest role, it will be her turn to do the capturing. In her new book,”50 Photographs by Jessica Lange,” the actress chronicles over 15 years of photos taken during her travels in North America, Africa and Europe. She is currently showcasing a select few from her work, including a special presentation in New Orleans on October 3rd.

Lange actually developed a love of photography when she enrolled in an intro class at the University of Minnesota in 1969. But, as apparently was common in the summer of love, she dropped out to wander the world and never gave the art of light-writing a second thought.

Until 15 years ago.  One evening her longtime partner, actor Sam Shepherd, came home from a movie set with a Leica, and Lange was immediately hooked. At first she just took pictures of the kids, but soon it became an artistic passion. “I’d go down into the basement after the kids were in bed,” she said, “put on some Al Green and Sam Cooke, and develop pictures.”

Now Lange is showing her work at exhibits. For her, as with many other artists of multiple mediums,  she is drawn to the simplicity of black-and-white images. “I can describe acting in much more concrete terms than I can photography,” she says. “But there’s something about presenting an image in black-and-white that’s so reductive in a way. It sort of eliminates all extraneous information.”

A preview of Lange’s book, “50 Photographs,” can be seen at the website for New Orlean’s Gallery for Fine Photography.

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