You don’t know me, but I know you. My name doesn’t matter, nor does where I live. (I will say it’s not anywhere you’d think.)
I am an anonymous Instagram account and an observer of culture.
My moniker, Getty Images Fan Club, refers to my main source of research: Getty Images. The database is an endless stream of images that allow me to return to anywhere and anything whenever I want to. It helps me in my archival work, providing a direct route to inspiration. But oftentimes, it leaves me befuddled, especially when I happen upon a circumstance that, upon retrospection today, doesn’t seem quite right. That’s what this new column, Seating Chart, is about.
I love unexpected groupings of celebrities, and nowhere does this happen more than in the front row of a fashion show or at some fabulous fête (usually for charity).
On April 20, 2005, Vanity Fair hosted a dinner for the Tribeca Film Festival at New York State’s Supreme Courthouse. Though New York Observer culture editor at the time Sara Vilkomerson described the cinema organization as still “whoopin’ it up downtown, where people pretend they like short films and ‘art flicks,’ when we know these are the very same people downloading the new Star Wars trailer and have ‘Darth Tater’ as their instant-message icon,” the event’s turnout proved TFF still had all of Hollywood’s support.
The late Robin Williams teased one paparazzi photographer by grabbing his or her camera, and William Dafoe, Christopher Walken, and Claudia Schiffer all made appearances during the evening. One specifically-hot table sat the likes of Jay-Z, Nicole Kidman, David Bowie, Iman, Ingrid Sischy, and Diddy. Individually they were all who’s who of the time, but today the group feels rather, well, random.
Pursuing through the images of this group on Getty now, I like to imagine what these people may have talked about at such an iconic encounter. Maybe Diddy asked Kidman to dish about his friend Lenny Kravitz, whom she had previously been in a relationship with for nearly a year. Or maybe, out of fear of social faux pas, Kravitz was never brought up. Did Jay-Z and Bowie compliment one another on their music? Just four years earlier, the rapper had sampled Ziggy Stardust’s “Fame” on his Nas and Mobb Deep diss track “The Takeover.” Perhaps there were whispers of a live collaboration that night? (Likely not.)
Of course, thanks to party supplies and the beautiful fog of history, we’ll likely never really know what transpired at this white-clothed table, but the moment—like many others—will always be readily available to meditate on. And for that I am grateful. See you next month.
Getty Images Fan Club
Getty Images Fan Club is an anonymous historian, researcher, and Internet personality.