Lee Iacocca - October 15, 1924 – July 2, 2019Tuesday, July 02, 2019
When I photographed Lee Iacocca sometime in the beginning of the 90s for the Vancouver business magazine Equity I had done my homework. In the early 80s Iacocca had started the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to raise funds to preserve the deteriorated monument and its surroundings.
By 1982, a century's worth of weather, pollution, and sightseeing had left Lady Liberty's crown, torch and gown badly in need of a comprehensive refurbishing. So it was a great honor for me to accept President Reagan's request that I lead a private sector effort to raise funds for the restoration and preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Thanks to the generous donations of proud American citizens - from grandparents to school children - we were able to raise $500 million to restore these two great monuments to freedom. I still remember the overwhelming feeling of pride that swept over me when we unveiled the restored Great Lady in 1986. It was July 4th weekend, with a gala three-day event attended by President Reagan and President Francois Mitterand of France.
It has always been my goal to research my subjects before I photograph them. In the 90s before the internet this meant going to the Vancouver Public Library.
When Mr. Iacocca faced my camera I said to him, “Can you give me, sir, a Stature of Liberty pose?”
His smile and loud laugh was all I needed.
I have a second reason to remember that day. There was another photographer taking photographs of Iacocca. It was Rosamund Norbury. She came up to me and said (nobody has ever said it better or with more honesty), “Thank you Alex for never taking bad photographs.”