l.a. Eyeworks is an iconic institution, sharing constantly cool glasses from their Melrose flagship for over twenty years. And, for the majority of that time, celebrity photographer Greg Gorman has been photographing their legendary campaign of celebrities adorned in the LA spectacles with the simple tagline, “A face is like a work of art. It deserves a great frame.” To showcase this work, they have released FRAMED, a survey of Gorman’s l.a. Eyeworks photography.
Starting in 1982, Gorman crafted a very specific vocabulary for the brand and for himself, opting to grab these colorful glasses and celebrities in black and white. As the tagline states, the celebrity’s big personalities and look are the art, while the frames are what pulls the piece together, sharing with potential buyers that their grames are what can pull even you together. It’s a celebration of popular culture and fashion design married in a seamless manner.
You may also just think that these photos were reserved for counter cultural figures, LGBT superstars, and locals who the world now knows. No–not the case at all: the campaign has shared everyone from Academy Award winners to future governors to stage performers to visual artists. To name a few, Jodie Foster, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ru Paul, Paul Ruebens (as Pee Wee), Iman, Patrick Dempsey, Pierce Brosnan, Laura Dern, Joey Arias, Eartha Kitt, Divine, Pedro Almodovar, Vanessa Williams, Amy Sedaris (as Jerri Blank), Ben Kingsley, and–most amazingly–Andy Warhol himself have all sat down for campaigns. There are literally tons more but, for the sake of not prattling away with them, peruse the archive of faces. You will definitely find a few surprises in the mix.
Something else to note and also makes Gorman’s work and l.a. Eyeworks’ selection of subjects (or admission to including subjects) particularly special is that they are all successful people at a moment in their life when things are “quieter,” either before or in between booms of success. This makes Gorman’s work incredibly special, almost as if it is a projection of future work, a mark that someone has made it in certain circles.
FRAMED is currently out and can be purchased through the l.a. Eyeworks website for fifty dollars. It’d make a great gift for any local familiar with the brand and, surely, will be popping up around coffee tables all over the city very soon.