Hi there! Sinatra's little book
Inside Frank Sinatra’s palm-size, camel-brown leather phone book, you will find 108 names. Dean Martin is there. Jerry Lewis is there. So are Wayne Newton, Don Rickles, and Roger Moore, not to mention one secretary of state (Kissinger), two presidents (Ford, Nixon), three dentists, an Agnew, and a Rockefeller, as well as guys named “Nifty,” “Skinny,” “Smokey,” and “Whitey.
Such are the bold-faced pleasures of photographer Henry Leutwyler’s beguiling new book, Hi there!, which reproduces every page in Sinatra’s personal phone book with the kind of single-minded focus generally reserved for crime scenes. Over the past 15 years, Leutwyler has developed a bit of a preoccupation with tracking down and photographing objects that once belonged to cultural icons (John Lennon’s specs, Gandhi’s sandal, Elvis’s remote control) but this is his most far-reaching and subtle exploration: 69 pictures of a single object.
Why go full-on obsessive? Because, says Leutwyler, an A-list celebrity portraitist who’s shot everyone from Beyoncé to Scorsese, “Objects talk. They tell stories, but they do not lie. There’s no hair and makeup. No stylist. It is what it is, and nobody’s chewing it for you.”