MacDowell, New York City 1978
Andie MacDowell, credits Steve Landis with giving her the encouragement
early on in her modeling career, to stick it out in New York.
Landis met her during her first week in the city and saw her star
potential immediately. This photo was taken during that time. “Andie
was the most amazing girl I'd ever met.”
more beauty photos of Andie.
year or two later I introduced her to the legendary TV commercial
director, Tully Rector in late 1981, for the female lead in the
film 'Hotel Versailles' he was preparing for production.“
The film never was made, and it would still be another couple of
years or so before she would become famous for her Calvin Klein
commercials, which predated her film acting career. An interesting
aside, Tully Rector’s daughter Kelly later married designer
Calvin Klein. Small world.
Shortly after this photo was taken, the ELITE agency sent Andie
off to Paris where she would establish the beginnings of what would
become a fabulously successful modeling career. She eventually
came back to the US, and rose up the ranks quickly here as well.
Soon she become a favorite of American Vogue photographers’
Arthur Elgort, Richard Avedon, Denis Peil, among others. “As
beautiful as these photographers made her look, I have long held
the theory that most still photographs couldn't do justice to Andie’s
beauty. One photo just can‘t capture her complexities.
On motion picture film, as in life, her inner beauty comes
through much more clearly,” remarks Landis.
In fact the first time most of America noticed her was in a series
of commercials for Calvin Klein Jeans consisting of different vignettes,
(in the follow up a to the ‘Nothing comes between me and my
Calvin's’ that Brooke Shields originated a few years earlier)
all directed by Richard Avedon. During Andie‘s audition,
Richard Avedon just asked her to relate some stories from her days
growing up in the American south. He made audio tapes of the
stories, as he did with the other girls auditioning as well.
Several other girls commercials aired also, but Andie’s were
the biggest hits. She had several different spots that aired frequently.
that campaign Andie was photographed on a white seamless background,
telling a short story about her and some local boys. She just
sucked you in with her voice, her accent, her charm, letting you
in on a little private episode from her life. Nothing to do
with the jeans she was wearing. It was the brilliance of Avedon
and Klein to just let her go, to let her be herself. They
deserve a lot of credit for such a ground breaking, (at the time),
campaign. The commercials created a buzz, people remarking
‘I don’t understand what that has to do with jeans.’
But those ads were magic. People were talking. That
was the point.
remember we had dinner one night, in London that year. I was
in town shooting an editorial for British Vogue. She was there
shooting her first movie role, ‘Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan’
with director Hugh Hudson. They'd rented her a lovely apartment
on Eaton Square for the duration of the filming. She told me that
years earlier, a famous actress had lived in the same apartment.
I can't remember who. (Hudson had originally seen Andie in
the pages of British Vogue and asked that magazines pre-eminent
fashion editor, Grace Coddington about her. Grace had worked
with her many times, giving her a good report and helped Hudson
track her down. She was chosen for the female lead.)
We had great fun reminiscing. She'd just shot the Calvin Klein
commercials but they hadn't aired yet. She recited some of
the stories during dinner. It was a fun
evening. In this business you meet lots of people, Then, just like that, work and
circumstances place you in different parts of the world. Sometimes
you don't see friends for years. So when you cross paths with
an old friend, far from home, its a real blessing.
the photographer . .
Steve Landis has travelled through many parts of the world during a career in professional photography incorporating the areas of photojournalism, fashion, beauty, and celebrity portrait photography for major publications for over 25 years. Steve has turned his life over to Yeshua the Messiah, (Jesus the Christ) and now primarily photographs weddings, family, actor, and executive portraits.
"I have been greatly blessed during my life and give the glory and thanks to Yeshua for a renewed life of peace and joy," states Landis.