It was only a matter of time until a photography book on Steve McQueen landed on my shelf. I mean, the man had style! William Claxton’s photographic talent immortalises McQueen’s enormous charisma and fantastic presence in the book Steve McQueen: William Claxton Photographs, which I think can easily double as a great testimony to classic menswear and to one of the guys who wore it best.
Movies always played an important part in Claxton’s life, as he recalls in the foreword of the book. As a child, he was often dropped off with his sister at the local movie theater early Saturday afternoon and they would be left there until late at night. The movie theater became a metaphor for babysitter – they felt perfectly safe there, and the actors became the other members of their family, their friends, their buddies. Finding out these details fueled my interest in the photographer’s work and I think his love for movies contributed for sure to his artistic eye and skill.
He and McQueen were good friends, which granted Claxton up and close access to the actor’s work and private life – and even though this beautiful photo album covers just a few years of their relationship, it reflects only too well Steve McQueen’s originality and relaxed cool, and further reveals one of his more hidden from the public eye qualities, his sensitive side. A self-made man, McQueen would confess to Claxton in 1962, after he had made it in Hollywood, recalling his New York City years as a struggling young actor: “Man, I was starving – I did everything and anything to survive.”
photos by me