What do you get your husband for his birthday when he's an 86-year-old U.S. senator?
If you're Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, wife of Frank, the New Jersey Democrat, you gift-wrap tickets to a Lady Gaga concert at Radio City Music Hall. And to record the occasion, you bring along your camera. "I was surprised twice," Bonnie Lautenberg says, "first that my husband said on his birthday last January that he'd like to see her, and second, that they allowed cameras."
Clicking away from her seat at Radio City, Lautenberg thought she'd snapped some exciting shots. She shared them with longtime acquaintance Janet Lehr, co-owner of East Hampton's Vered Gallery. (Lautenberg, who runs a family real estate business, owns a home in Water Mill.)
"I thought they were terrific," Lehr says. Together they decided to mount eight of the photographs in a "Lady Gaga Performing" exhibit to take advantage of the celebrity buzz surrounding the Hamptons Film Festival.
THE LADY IS A VAMP
"I think the photos show why she's gotten so much attention," says Lautenberg of Lady Gaga and her barely-there concert wardrobe. "But for me, this is quite a departure."
Her first major work as a photographer was historic: The 1993 signing of the peace accord between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn with President Bill Clinton. Since then, Lautenberg has photographed gorilla families, polar bears and other endangered species as well as indigenous peoples from Canada's Hudson Bay region, India, Japan, Vietnam, Rwanda and Tanzania.
What will become of the rest of her Lady Gaga portfolio? "We'll see," Lautenberg says. "It's very flattering when people want to buy your work."
"Lady Gaga Performing: Photographs by Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg"
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, through Oct. 29, at the Vered Gallery, 68 Park Place, East Hampton
INFO Free; veredart.com, 631-324-3303