They say if the shoe fits, wear it. And just as important, if the shoe intrigues, look at it. Which millions of people can now do via Document, a new photo book by Swiss photographer Henry Leutwyler that features detailed, up close shots of some of the most interesting and famous shoes in history.
Document: Celebrity Shoes And More
Document features 124 Henry Leutwyler photographs of iconic items like John Lennon’s blue-tinted glasses and Jimi Hendrix’s red fender, but many book critics can’t help but focus on the footwear featured in the book. Elaborate photos of Michael Jackson’s studded shoe, Sylvie Guillem’s ballet slippers, Muhammad Ali’s boxing shoes and Gene Kelly’s worn out pair of Converse steal the show.
But interestingly, footwear wasn’t supposed to be the central focus of the book. “It was completely unintentional,” Leutwyler tells TIME. “[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. 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.”
The photographer shares stories about visiting Gene Kelly’s home and being surprised to find dirty sneakers in the well-dressed actor’s fashion collection, and how Theodore Kaczynski (aka the Unabomber) built a platform under his shoes to make his getaway footprints smaller in order to fool police.
“I think it’s interesting to see the objects,” he shares. “Try and understand them and try to understand what people were thinking when they were wearing them or when they were building them.”
For more on Leutwyler’s photo collection, pick up a copy of Document or visit his show at the Foley Gallery in New York City from November 3 to January 8, 2017.