“My mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes,” said Tom Hanks as the lead role in 1994’s “Forrest Gump.” More than just a memorable quote from a classic film, the statement has never rang truer than in Henry Leutwyler’s latest book, “Document.”
In “Document,” the New York-based photographer explores objects and possessions from some of history’s most famous — and infamous — moments and people. Leutwyler’s work covers the spectrum of the most significant sneakers of all time, including boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s ring-worn Adidas Spezial shoes to a pair of leather lace-ups donned by actor Charlie Chaplin in 1931’s “City Lights.”
“[It] just so happens I think that when you find a pair of tap dance shoes or you find a pair of ballet slippers or you find the Unabomber shoes, it’s a beautiful object. It’s close to your body, it touches your skin,” Leutwyler told Time. “It shows if you maintain it well or not, if you care less or are careful, if you have money or you don’t have money.”
During the 10-year process of making “Document,” Leutwyler was fascinated by the wear and tear he discovered on shoes worn by wealthy celebrities. “It’s like, wow, the guy was wearing Converse, how cool,” he said of a pair of Chuck Taylors worn by actor Gene Kelly. “Then you realize he didn’t replace the broken shoelaces. He fixed them with new ones. Nowadays, you rip them, chuck them and put new ones in. So I like the attitude.”
“Document” is available for preorder now from Amazon for $49.94.