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The gift of Gaga

December 3, 2011 |  6:35 pm


Amid the torrent of images of her alter ego in elaborate makeup and futuristic fashions, the stripped-bare face of Stefani Joanne Angelina seems startling.

The Grammy award -winning singer has teamed up with outré photographer Terry Richardson for a book of photographs, “Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson” “(Grand Central Publishing, $50), a showcase of more than 350 color and black-and-white photos taken on a nearly yearlong global odyssey.

Richardson, known for his risqué, clothing-optional style, captured all sides of the chameleon-like pop star, commencing with the 2010 Lollapalooza festival, continuing to her unforgettable egg-encased arrival at the 2011 Grammys and on through to the final show of her Monster Ball tour.

It’s a not-for-kids picture book with a sententious foreword by Gaga. The rest is pure, unadulterated visual dialogue. Fans won’t be disappointed with extreme behind-the-scenes and concert shots of the expected snarls and outlandish get-ups. Included are images of Gaga’s it's-what's-for-dinner meat  dress and her poses with Cher, the godmother of attention-grabbing, barely-there Vegas showgirl couture. But most revealing are the black-and-white images with no fuss, no props or theatrical makeup in the way. It’s when the singer takes a moment from the madness, pulls back her hair and ditches the costumes, that we see the real girl who is the mastermind behind the monster.

View a gallery of photos from Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson

Images: From the book LADY GAGA x TERRY RICHARDSON. Working. Photo by Terry Richardson/Grand Central Publishing.

- Liesl Bradner