Saturday, January 19, 2013

Abagail Van Buren

In 1988 I was on the magazine staff, and they were looking for some kind of summer story. I said, in jest, "Let's photograph people born on the Fourth of July," because that's my birthday too. So they said "OK, do it!" I started doing research and calling celebrities. The first one I called was Ann Landers, because I knew her - I had photographed her in Chicago at her home for another story. I knew she and her twin sister were born on the 4th. I flew to California and photographed her sister, Abagail Van Buren, and also Ron Kovic, who wrote "Born on the Fourth of July." My idea for a style for each of the photographs was to feature something red, white, and blue. Mrs. Van Buren was very nice and it was an easy assignment at her magnificent home in Hollywood. Here is the funny part, because you all know me... I happened to mention that to save money on the cost of the flight I came out a day early, and then to make good use of the day, I drove out to Joshua Tree National Monument and spent the day photographing in the desert and I was excited because it was wonderful to be there. Her response was something about the fact that she couldn't imagine why anyone would want to spend a day in the desert! I never knew that her name was Pauline Phillips, until I read her obituary in the Times yesterday.

1 comment:

Photodude Images said...

A sad day for those of us who grew up in the pre internet age. Newsday was originally an Ann Landers paper but at some point started running Abby as well. It's amazing to think that the subjects they tackled in print on a daily basis were cutting edge back then. No where else could you read frank discussions about sex, birth control, drugs, abortion, relationships, etc. Society had changed in the 60s and 70s but it took the competition of the internet to bring the media - both print and broadcast fully through the sexual and cultural revolution. Abby and Ann were two of the pioneers that helped bring an end to the Puritan age.