Portrait of “scared rabbit” Charlie Chaplin by Edward Steichen, New York, 1931

Steichen remembered Chaplin as “one of the most difficult subjects I have encountered in years of photography. He sat waiting like a scared rabbit. His ears were back as though ready to scamper for cover. He was more tense than a tyro model. Timid isn’t the word! The only explanation I have is that Chaplin is accustomed to being alert and on the move in his pictures. He loses himself when he gets into a role, and then seemingly gets self-conscious when he realizes he is going to pose as himself. Many actors and movie people get camera shy.” (Hamilton Daily News, September 19, 1931)

Read more about their sessions here and here.

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