Few male stars in any medium have had an impact on our visual culture like Frank Sinatra, whose centennial falls on December 12, 2015. Of his generation, only John F. Kennedy comes to mind. Like many of the greatest singers, he possessed an aura of sexuality, vulnerability, intensity and charm, and all of these qualities came through in photographs. Beyond that, he had a style of manhood that defined an ideal in the first two decades after World War II: cocky, violent, soulful, urbane and irresistible to women.Sinatra: The Classic Photographs focuses mainly on his heyday, from the late 1940s to the early 1970s and includes both well-known and rare shots of Sinatra recording, in concert and making films. These were the years of the Rat Pack and Las Vegas, socialising with Jack Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, making music with Count Basie and Quincy Jones—when he towered over the American entertainment landscape.
Featured is the best work by a group of photographers who helped shape the public image of Sinatra. Among them are Bob Willoughby, who pioneered a special brand of motion picture unit photography in Hollywood; Sid Avery, known for capturing private moments of Hollywood royalty; Ted Allan, who was Sinatra’s personal photographer for many years; and Ed Thrasher, art director and photographer at Sinatra’s very own Reprise label. The work of these men forms the nucleus of the material gathered in this book, with an introduction by Barbara Sinatra, and commentary on Sinatra by a wide selection of people who knew him.