See Arnold Schwarzenegger Through the Lenses of Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, and More in a New Book from Taschen


Ever since he broke out as a star of the 1977 bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been an international public figure. His career has wended through athletics, acting, politics, and, as a Republican, he has taken a perhaps unlikely turn into advocating for renewable energy. 

Schwarzenegger has racked up countless titles and plaudits over these nearly 50 years. He won Mr. Universe four times. He was Mr. Olympia seven times. He’s starred in films that have collectively grossed around $4 billion worldwide. He was elected governor of California by wide margins in both 2003 and 2006. 

Now, , a new book from art publisher Taschen celebrates the moving image superstar through the work of the many still photographers who have turned their lens on him, including some of the foremost practitioners of the art. Some 10 years in the making, the book spans early bodybuilding shots, film stills, personal photos from the Hollywood star’s archive, and exclusive interviews by figures like film director Ivan Reitman (who directed him in Twins, Junior, and Kindergarten Cop) and bodybuilders like Franco Columbu and Dave Draper. 

Inside . Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.

“I did this book,” Schwarzenegger says in a promo video, “because there is no other way that you can sum up the kind of quality of photography that were done during my lifetime.” 

The photos do indeed span much of a lifetime. The many photos by Annie Leibovitz include those from when she was on assignment for Rolling Stone during the making of Pumping Iron, in 1975. The next year, when writer Charles Gaines convinced the Whitney Museum of American Art to host a live exhibition of bodybuilders as “artists living inside their own creations,” documentary photographer Elliott Erwitt was there to capture a dramatic shot of Schwarzenegger posing before a crowd. 

Michael Childers, a shot of Schwarzenegger at Muscle Beach, in Santa Monica, California, in 1976. Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.

The photos by Robert Mapplethorpe, also from 1976, pre-date Pumping Iron, and were some of the famous photographer’s first sales to private collectors, according to dealer Holly Solomon, who is quoted in the book. Soon after that, Schwarzenegger said everyone wanted to shoot him, and in 1977, he found himself nude at the factory, posing for a Warhol Polaroid. 

Fashion photographer Herb Ritts shot a 1991 Rolling Stone cover of the actor in his Terminator costume, posing with a smile on the beach. And an 80-year-old Richard Avedon photographed him in 2003, in the run-up to his first California gubernatorial election. 

The book is available in three editions: one for collector’s (in an edition of 997), for $1,500, each numbered and signed by Schwarzenegger; the Capitello edition (of 850), including a book stand in the shape of a capital column, for $3,000; and the Annie Leibovitz art edition (of 100), with a framed ChromaLuxe print, numbered and signed by the photographer, for $15,000. 

See more photos from the book below.

Max Aguilera-Hellweg, (1975). Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.

Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair (1990). Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.

Tamotsu Fujii, (1989). Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.

Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair (1997). Photo: Courtesy of Taschen.


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