Block Telesales Calls NOW
Receive no more
108 Portraitsby Gus Van Sant.
First published in 1992.
Just a little over four thousand copies of this book were printed, one hundred and twenty of which were individually numbered and signed by the author. Either version of this book has become something of a rare find for collectors and is worth a not inconsiderable amount of money.
Indeed, there are familiar faces aplenty in this book. All of the cast members of My Own Private Idaho are present for example, including A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon director Bill Richert, Flea, Keanu Reeves and Michael Parker, the only individual to feature in the collection twice. Other subjects to be found here who have worked with River include Ione Skye and Bradley Gregg.
Each face tells a story, each pair of eyes becomes a matching set of windows into a different and completely unique soul. Some of Van Sant's subjects smile, some stand proudly, some are humble whilst others leave one guessing, their thoughts and feelings at the time their picture was taken remain well hidden. Turning the pages of the book, moving from face to face, one can't but help stop and spend some considerable time at Portrait 58 though. Portrait 58 was taken in the spring of 1990 near Gainesville, Florida, at the home of a young movie star. Long hair, soon to be shaved for a Vietnam movie, succeeds in partially covering the face of the subject but is unable to cover the expression that this face wears. For this is an expression that is simply too strong, too powerful to remain hidden. It is a look of cynicism, a look of distrust, an expression of quietly restrained hatred that is aimed squarely at the camera lens and it hits its target, dead center.
Hardly surprisingly, River's friends would often ask if they could take a photograph of him whenever he paid them a visit. River, as always, would quietly put the feelings and needs of others before his own, and agree. To his closest friends though he would sometimes confess that he had much empathy for the idea that the camera was somehow taking away, or rather, stealing, part of his very soul.
River must have known, he must have been aware of just what a finite resource it was that he was sharing and giving away so often. Only with hindsight, only when it was too late, did the rest of the world realize this too.