James Spada On His New Book “Streisand: In the Camera Eye”
This is my fourth book about Barbra Streisand—I plead guilty to being a fan! Two of those earlier books were more than 50% photographs (the other was an in-depth biography. My challenge with this one, then, was finding as many previously unseen or rare photos as possible. I feel pride in the fact that I was able to do that to a very great extent with this new book.
My favourite photo in the book is the never-before-published cover shot by Cecil Beaton of Barbra as Melinda Tentrees in the 1970 film On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Barbra was at her most beautiful, and the photo itself illustrates Beaton’s comment that Barbra’s face “is a painting from several historical eras.” There are four other unpublished Beaton portraits from the film in the book.
I was also very pleased to be able to use four unseen shots from Barbra’s very first studio photo shoot in 1960, when she was still singing in small clubs in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. They were taken by a friend of a friend, Craig Simpson, who was a photographer’s assistant. The negatives were buried in Mr. Simpson’s basement in Northern California for more than fifty years. Despite being terminally ill with cancer, he was kind enough to dig them out for me. He passed away last year, and I’m so pleased that his photos will finally be seen in my book.
There are many other previously unpublished photos in “Streisand: In the Camera Eye”—gorgeous high-fashion shots by Philippe Halsman from 1965; photos taken in 1963 for a Look magazine story that were never used; unseen images from all her films; gorgeous, sexy shots by Mario Casilli taken in 1979 and 1982; photos from A Star is Born and The Main Event by Francesco Scavullo, and lovely onstage shots from Barbra’s most recent concert tour in 2012-13.
All told, I believe that even the most devoted Streisand fans will find much to delight and amaze them in this book.
Streisand: In the Camera Eye is available now!