Beauty’s Only Film Deep

Twenty years ago, I saw a slender woman walking along 52nd St and Sutton Place; it was not unusual but curiously strange nonetheless. She had straight, shoulder-length gray hair, and while from the back she looked like many elderly New York women, her profile had a ghostlike familiarity. I was compelled to get closer.
It was Greta Garbo. Indeed, she was alone (though I don’t know if she wanted to be), walking at a brisk pace into her apartment building. A few days later, she died at the age of 84. The image of this former graphic film icon (“who fled her stardom”) has stuck with me, even today. Garbo had a subtle, sculptural beauty, and only days away from her final scene, she maintained a stark elegance. I was reminded of that encounter once again when I came across the photograph above. As purposely posed as she is, her beauty is not just film deep.
Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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