A Conversation with Lisa Eisner: continued...
Damion: Lisa, why did you decide to start
Greybull Press with Roman Alonso?
Lisa: Roman I knew from
the fashion days. When he was at Barneys I knew him, and then he worked at
Isaac Mizrahi. I worked with him because I had done a couple of projects with
the company. I mean, Isaac's a good friend, but I had worked on a couple of
campaigns. Roman and I worked really well together, and I always thought that
if I ever had a partner that he would be the perfect one. He was sort of
interested in moving to L.A. And then with Isaac closing, fate just sort of
fell into place. He moved to L.A. and we just started it
How do you collaborate?
We work on everything
completely together as a team. Clearly there are certain things that he's
better at than I am. I'm not very good at business. He knows a lot more about
that. But we have the same sensibilities. Because we both have just spent so
much time in bookstores, buying books for so many years, there were certain
things and certain books that weren't out there that we really wanted to have
and find. And I guess from working on a lot of these campaigns you would always
be searching for a certain book, and you couldn't really find it. So that was
another reason. It was like, "God, wouldn't you like to find a book on, you
know, the Latin American culture more?" or something like that.
How did you start photography? Did you have any formal
Well, from working just as as a stylist I worked with
some really great photographers and observed them; but I think it was more like
I just kind of jumped in the water. I've only used manual cameras. I got a
Leika and a Hasselblad, and I actually got a Rolleiflex at a Sammy Davis, Jr.
auction. Those are sort of like the three cameras. And yeah, just sort of
taught myself, and experimented and shot a lot and lot of film. I always sort
of knew that photography is something that takes a while for you to discover
your own style -- or maybe all art is -- and that I was ready to put in the
time and the adventure, and excited about the adventure of just finding out
about yourself and what you like and what looks good to you and how your eye
changes. I had some guidance. Dewey Nicks is a good friend and he's always been
there. I have a lot of friends who are sort of in a similar visual field, and
we always help each other.
Speaking of Dewey Nicks, I saw his book
"Kustom" last week. It's gorgeous! Why was his the first book published by
Greybull that you didn't shoot or write?
We've worked so closely.
When I was at "Vogue" I sort of hired him for his first job. And just like
anything, there are people you know you can work with and that have a similar
sensibility. Dewey has always been someone that we've really loved working
with. He sort of started with me at the same time, so I know his work and have
always been a big admirer of his. When everyone was doing that whole grunge and
heroin chic thing, Dewey would always photograph people with life. People that
were really happy about life. Lots of energy. I always appreciated that because
that's really how I look at life, and hopefully all the Greybull Press books
will be this sort of slice into, "Isn't life great and wonderful and
That's why I loved "Height of Fashion." It shows how fashion
makes people feel good and enriches their life. So many books about fashion
theory don't take into account how positive it is.
Yeah, or how it
sort of affects the masses. I'm so glad you got that because that's exactly
what this book was supposed to be about in that everyone has had a moment in
fashion -- whether you think you're fashionable or not -- and how good those
kind of moments are where you take the time and make the effort, and how good
you feel about yourself. You know, when you're feeling good, and you look good
and you've got it together, it sort of changes your whole way of looking at
It makes life more exciting, and there's nothing wrong with
Nothing wrong with that. If you've got the time.