Behind the Scenes with Barbra: a New Book & Exhibition Uncloak the Soul Behind Streisand’s Iconic Face

If you look just past the brightness around superstar Barbra Streisand, to the period before she became an icon, a vision of blossoming strength comes through; a personality both down-to-earth and regal, glamorous and provocative. The actress, singer, and comedian is showcased in her early years in “Steve Schapiro and Lawrence Schiller: Barbra Streisand,” a series of photographs scheduled to run at Heather James Fine Art concurrently with the release of a new book by Taschen. In these snapshots, many of which are previously unseen, the soul behind the iconic face casts its own rich light. 

Taken between 1969 and 1975, the series shows Streisand during a period in which her pop career peaked and she made some of her most famous films—including Funny GirlOn a Clear Day You Can See ForeverThe Way We WereThe Owl and the Pussycat and Funny Lady. It also features cameos from the many people in her life at the time, such as Robert Redford, Elliott Gould, and Sydney Pollack. Streisand’s personality, self confidence, and depth become apparent as she is reflected in the eyes of others.

Photographers Steve Schapiro and Lawrence Schiller are no strangers to photographing the brightest stars of our time. Schapiro is known for his famous posters for the films Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, and his works are in private collections worldwide. Schiller’s iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Buster Keaton, and Clint Eastwood, as well as his many directorial projects, demonstrate a unique ability to identify poignant humanity in his subjects. The exhibition at Heather James, of an American icon through two different lenses, shows a behind-the-scenes Barbra as a multifaceted character as well as a chameleon-like performer, determined and captivating at the top of her game.

—K. Sundberg

Steve Schapiro and Lawrence Schiller: Barbra Streisand” is on view at Heather James Fine Art, Palm Desert, Nov. 25, 2014–Mar. 28, 2015.

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