The Rural We: Adrienne Aurichio
Editor Adrienne Aurichio moved to New Milford, Conn. in 2004 with her late husband, the esteemed LIFE magazine photographer Bill Eppridge. Their plan was to settle into a quieter life to collaborate on projects based on Eppridge’s archive of photography accumulated over a lifetime. Aurichio, who studied communications design at Pratt Institute and photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology, met the photographer when she was working as a photo editor at Sports Illustrated, where Eppridge landed after LIFE folded. On Saturday, June 24, from 2-4 p.m., Aurichio will be discussing and signing their book, ‘Becoming Barbra,’ at The Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa, hosted by the Hickory Stick Bookshop “Becoming Barbra” features photos from Eppridge’s two separate photography sessions with Barbra Streisand. The first, in 1963, had her at the edge of stardom. By 1966, when he next photographed her, she had gained full-fledged celebrity status. Tickets can be purchased at the bookshop for $50, which includes a signed copy of the book and light refreshments.
My husband and I were living in Westchester County, transplants from New York City. We came up here, doing the typical thing people do when they’re leaving the NYC area, looking at a 75-mile radius, needing a house to be accessible to the city. We had some friends in the area, and relatives in Stamford, so it seemed like the right place to be.
We moved here to make his work into a business, to figure out how to get his pictures published more widely. We actually started in 1992, and this is the sixth book about his work.
Bill was working for LIFE when he was assigned to photograph Streisand in 1963. She was relatively unknown then. He shot her for about 3 or 4 days, and said she was pleasant enough that time, happy to have an audience. He just photographed what she was doing in her apartment. At first, he said, it was awkward to just start photographing someone you’ve never met before, and he was a shy person. But he was also engaging and personable. He liked to be a fly on the wall, and he’d tell his subjects that, so they’d relax. By the second time he photographed her, in 1966, she was a huge star. She’d been in “Funny Girl” on Broadway, and was about to do the movie version. There are a lot more photos from that time, because it was a three-week shoot.
We started looking at the negatives of the two shoots back in the mid '90s. There are thousands of images. Bill liked to find images that told the story of how Streisand went from being virtually unknown to being a huge star in three years. I especially love the picture in the beginning of the book: a man is helping her with a hat in a thrift shop. She has her hand on her cheek, and it’s almost like she’s gazing out at the future — she was probably looking at a mirror — imagining where she was headed. The book is such a look back at a style. Streisand was a trendsetter, and teenage girls wanted to emulate her look.
I still work quite a bit; I have Bill’s archives to manage. There’s still a major retrospective to do, and then I have to find a permanent place for the photos. For me, there’s real joy in doing it. I knew he was going to leave it to me to finish archiving his work. He told me — after we got married — that his photo director at LIFE magazine once said to him, “Find a good picture editor, and marry her.”
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