“Being photographed by [Brigitte Lacombe] is the only time I don’t mind being photographed — in other situations I feel like a performing elephant,” says Meryl Streep in the first issue of the magazine NeueJournal, released by the upscale work collective and cultural powerhouse NeueHouse and helmed by editor-in-chief Michelle Grey and editorial and creative director Dominic Teja Sidhu. It’s no surprise, then, that the magazine devoted its seven hardback covers and half of its pages to the acclaimed French photographer, who used the space to capture Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gloria Steinem, Gay Talese, Juliette Binoche, and dozens more in a series of portraits. Over the course of three months, almost all of the subjects dropped by Lacombe’s tiny daylight studio in the Lower East Side, where she shot them largely in the clothes they arrived in, without makeup artists or stylists. “It was very, very bare bones,” Lacombe told the Cut.
What’s striking about the portraits is not only their intimacy — they’re paired with honest, promotion-free essays and interviews — but also their sheer scope. “To me, the strength of the portrait comes from this repetition of all these very, very different people, but all treated the same way,” Lacombe said. That’s particularly apparent in the accompanying video, which shows one famed actor, artist, and musician after another in less than two minutes. Watch above to see for yourself.