TRUMAN CAPOTE, CLARIDGE’S HOTEL, LONDON, 1960

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David Steen recalls: “I hate photographing people in hotels; it is so impersonal. Furniture that isn’t theirs, someone else’s paintings on the walls, you can’t make it look like home. Invariably I tried to come up with an interesting close-up. I asked, ‘Can you pull a face or do something?’ This is what the charmingly camp Capote did.
At the time this photograph was taken, Capote, American writer, was enjoying the success of his first international best seller Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was soon to reach an even wider public as a film starring Audrey Hepburn. (A film incidentally denigrated by critics as ‘unconvincingly clean, slow and over sentimental’, nevertheless earning its place on the all-time favourites list.)
As a childhood friend of Harper Lee, who wrote him into her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, he went on to become, as well as an accomplished author and playwright, one of Jackie Kennedy’s inner circle and a major player on the Manhattan party scene. He had an amusing and acid wit, often used to devastating effect. Not everyone forgave him this little foible.
On the subject of his writing: ‘I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.’ And,  ‘Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.’ (A fair description of his own life, as it turned out.)”
Location: Claridge’s Hotel, London
Year: 1960
Biography: Writer Capote, born in New Orleans, 1924, was as legendary as a socialite as he was a writer – he was a regular at New York’s infamous nightclub Studio 54 in the late Seventies. In the course of his life he penned 25 plays, two novels, 60 short stories and over 100 poems. His novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s was made into a classic film starring Audrey Hepburn who shone as the story’s central character, Holly Golightly. But it was his supposedly non-fiction work In Cold Blood (1966 novel, 1977 film) about the murder of a Kansas family by two drifters that assured his place as one of America’s greatest writers. He died in 1984. As a footnote, it is thought that he was the inspiration for close friend Nelle Harper Lee’s character ‘Dil’ in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Print Type: Fibre-based Harman Galerie FB Digital
Printed by: Metro Imaging, London
Limited Editions: All prints are limited editions, no further prints are produced once sold
Bespoke: All prints are bespoke and printed to order, stamped and numbered
Presentation: Prints are supplied to clients flat in an acid-free box or rolled in a tube
Watermark: Watermarks will not be present on an original print
Tags: truman streckfus perkins, truman capote, american novelist, screenwriter, playwright, actor, short stories, novels, plays, nonfiction, 50s, fifties, 1950s, 60s, 1960s, the sixties, swinging sixties, breakfast at tiffany’s, in cold blood
Copyright: © David Steen / The David Steen Archive