To the editor: Like art critic Christopher Knight, I am disappointed in portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz's shot of Caitlyn Jenner, though for somewhat different reasons than those expressed by Knight. ("Caitlyn Jenner's courage is bold, Annie Leibovitz's portrait cliched," June 2)
Knight mentions Susan Sontag. If you look at photos of her in later years, you see the distinctive white swath of hair, you see lines, wrinkles and sags. She doesn't look like she works out or starves to stay thin.
But she looks marvelous, she looks real, because her face is full of character, full of her history as a woman who knew triumph, love, sorrow, conflict. She looks like nobody but herself, not like an anonymous beautiful model from the pages of Elle.
Why do we seem so unable, as a society or culture or whatever, to not only accept but celebrate our own aging?
I applaud Jenner for her courage in coming out as a transgender person. As a 64-year-old woman, I wish that she, and Leibovitz, had carried the courage a step further and come out as a 65-year-old woman not ashamed, or afraid, of being the age that she is.
Catherine M. Crook, Camarillo
To the editor: Yes, the shot of Bette Midler in the tub of rose petals was brilliant (as was the Rolling Stone cover Leibovitz shot of Meryl Streep in clown white-face pulling her face at odd angles, while I'm on the subject), but I appreciated the Jenner photo for what it was: a beautiful, breathtaking portrait of a woman.
It didn't occur to me that it was a cliche or simply a throwback to a Betty Grable pin-up.
What's wrong with a straight-on shot that doesn't scream some other artsy message from the photographer?
Nancy Beverly, Sherman Oaks