Cap­tur­ing Cait­lyn Jen­ner

Re “A com­ing out and a cliche,” June 2

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Like art critic Christo­pher Knight, I am dis­ap­pointed in por­trait pho­tog­ra­pher An­nie Lei­bovitz’s shot of Cait­lyn Jen­ner, though for some­what dif­fer­ent rea­sons than those ex­pressed by Knight.

Knight men­tions Su­san Son­tag. If you look at pho­tos of her in later years, you see the dis­tinc­tive white swath of hair, you see lines, wrin­kles and sags. She doesn’t look like she works out or starves to stay thin.

But she looks mar­velous, she looks real, be­cause her face is full of char­ac­ter, full of her his­tory as a woman who knew tri­umph, love, sor­row, con­flict. She looks like no­body but her­self, not like an anony­mous beau­ti­ful model from the pages of Elle.

Why do we seem so un­able, as a so­ci­ety or cul­ture or what­ever, to not only ac­cept but cel­e­brate our own aging?

I ap­plaud Jen­ner for her courage in com­ing out as a trans­gen­der per­son. As a 64-year-old woman, I wish that she, and Lei­bovitz, had car­ried the courage a step fur­ther and come out as a 65-year-old woman not ashamed, or afraid, of

be­ing the age that she is.

Catherine M. Crook


Yes, the shot of Bette Mi­dler in the tub of rose pe­tals was bril­liant (as was the Rolling Stone cover Lei­bovitz shot of Meryl Streep in clown white-face pulling her face at odd an­gles, while I’m on the sub­ject), but I ap­pre­ci­ated the Jen­ner photo for what it was: a beau­ti­ful, breath­tak­ing por­trait of a woman.

It didn’t oc­cur to me that it was a cliche or sim­ply a throw­back to a Betty Grable pin-up.

What’s wrong with a straight-on shot that doesn’t scream some other artsy mes­sage from the pho­tog­ra­pher?

Nancy Bev­erly

Sher­man Oaks

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