In the August 4, 1952 issue of Life, the magazine featured Eartha Kitt’s celebrated arrival on the scene. “She branched onto Broadway,” read the opening spread, which was illustrated with a Gordon Parks photo (one of several taken) of Kitt balletically swinging from a maple tree in Central Park. “The Girl who suddenly swung into prominence on Broadway this summer in a revue, New Faces,” the story continued to say, though adding, “it was the long way round to success.” Parks, the Kansas-born photographer who famously documented moments of 20th-century Black American life (both the glamour and the grievances), captured Kitt in rolled-up shorts, a fitted polo shirt, and pearls; she’s carefree, ebullient, and graceful. The joyous photo served as the inspiration for Annie Leibovitz, who photographed Jennifer Lopez’s first cover shoot for American Vogue. Wearing a Valentino Haute Couture dress, Lopez similarly swings from a tree; though she’s already a fixture of pop culture, the moment marked a new album and new marriage for the pop star and actor. 

Eartha Kitt, photographed by Gordon Parks for Life magazine August 4, 1952


         Jennifer Lopez, photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue, November 2022