Excerpt: 'AUDREY 100: A Rare and Intimate Photo Collection Selected by Audrey Hepburn's Family,' by Ellen Fontana

Photo: Book Cover: AUDREY 100: A Rare and Intimate Photo Collection Selected by Audrey Hepburn?s Family

Audrey Hepburn's legacy crosses all cultures and generations.

"AUDREY 100: A Rare and Intimate Photo Collection Selected by Audrey Hepburn's Family" is a collection of the most compelling photographs of the actress, style icon and humanitarian.

Read the foreword from the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.


How does one choose the 100 best photographs of one of the most photographed women of our time? I often wondered when the time came to take pictures at Christmas, why my mother always preferred to be the one taking the shot and rushed through those including her. Now -- after years of caring for her image and likeness and poring through literally thousands of images of her -- I know. I have come to understand what a photograph meant to her.

To my mother, a photo was not what it may be to one of us -- a memento, a way to record a moment in time that we will want to relive later on when everyone has scattered. To her it was hard work. A photo was a conjunction of factors that would immortalize perfection: the best photographers, designers, lighting, makeup, and hair; the right amount of sleep, luck, magic -- and her, looking as though all of it was thoroughly enjoyable and effortless. It represented as much effort and energy as went into a whole day of shooting a film. In some cases, the photo would be used for the artwork of a film's poster or become its iconic link -- it would carry all of the weight of months or even years of a film's creation, preparation, production, post-production, and marketing -- not to speak of the millions invested in its creation and distribution.

And she took it just that seriously. As if, she used to say, "her life depended on it" -- and the lives of all of those who had poured large chunks of their lives into its birth. My mother's photographs were a far cry from our "family snaps."

When my mother put her career on hold to raise us, her sons, it was also to be a pleasant vacation from the taking of these pictures. She resented the paparazzi in Rome and often told us that she felt bad that somehow their need -- their desire -- to capture her might somehow encroach on our private lives. This was indeed a highly sensitive perspective but she was probably also projecting her own anguish about it on to us. We simply didn't care at first, and then we thought of it as kind of fun.

How interesting that after all these years this huge body of photographic work is still one of the pillars of her presence -- her legacy -- along with her films. It is true that nothing can replace a photograph; it really does speak more than a thousand words. Without them, she wouldn't—couldn't—continue to be regarded as the fashion icon that she still is. And the work of Hubert de Givenchy, Edith Head, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, and most importantly Cecil Beaton, Hans Gerber, Pierluigi Praturlon, Philippe Halsman, Emil Schulthess, Sam Shaw, Norman Parkinson, Leo Fuchs, Willy Rizzo, David Seymour, Yousuf Karsh, Douglas Kirkland, Inge Morath, Marcel Imsand, Ove Wallin, Antony Beauchamp, Howell Conant, Bob Willoughby, Sanford Roth, Betty Press, Marc Shaw, John Engstead, Inge Morath, and John Isaac would be lost forever. How interesting that something that caused her such anguish and stress could have a long-lasting repercussion of such legendary proportions.

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