One in a Million

Although produced millions of times, these items are unique: photographer Henry Leutwyler documents everyday objects that have become something special because they’ve been used to accomplish something special.

The mundane paintbrush, for example, with which Andy Warhol created world-famous works of art. Or Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar. Or the pencil that Ferdinand Alexander Porsche used to make the first sketches of the Porsche 911.

Vaslav Nijinsky’s ballet shoes

1889–1950: Nijinsky, who was born in Kiev on March 12, 1889, used these shoes for the premiere of Le Spectre de la Rose at the theater in Monte Carlo on April 19, 1911. Blood in the heels attests to the difficulty of the dance.

Charlie Chaplin’s cane

1889–1977: This cane was one of the central props used in the signature role of the Tramp played by the actor and director, who was born in London on April 16, 1889.

Adi Dassler’s tools

1900–1978: Born in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach on November 3, 1900, Dassler still carried around this set of tools, which he had used to develop his first cleats, long after his company Adidas had become a renowned international manufacturer of sporting goods.

Andy Warhol’s paintbrush

1928–1987: Warhol was a designer, graphic artist, and filmmaker who founded the pop art movement and was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1928. He used this simple painter’s tool to create great art.

Elvis Presley’s microphone

1935–1977: Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935, the musician and actor used this microphone for his studio recordings.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche’s pencil

1935–2012: Born in Stuttgart on December 11, 1935, Porsche was the son of Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche and the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. Under his leadership, Porsche developed the design of the 911, which was initially presented on September 12, 1963, at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main.

Bob Dylan’s harmonica

1941: Dylan, a musician and Nobel Prize laureate in literature who was born in Duluth, Minnesota, on May 24, 1941, once played this Hohner Marine Band harmonica in A major, serial number A449.

Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar

1942–1970: This Fender Mustang in Daytona Red was specially made for Hendrix, a singer, composer, and left-handed guitarist born in Seattle, Washington, on November 27, 1942. It was used to record his second studio album, Axis: Bold as Love.


The New York–based photographer Henry Leutwyler doesn’t present images of mere objects in his book entitled Document; they’re testaments to our time: Bob Dylan’s harmonica, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, Charlie Chaplin’s cane, and a writing utensil that belonged to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. Leutwyler is always on the lookout. “When I was given the chance to photograph an object that belonged to the creator of the Porsche 911, I immediately traveled from Manhattan to Zell am See.” Christophorus presents a few of Leutwyler’s testaments in this “One in a Million” piece.

Text first published in the Porsche customer magazine Christophorus, No. 382

Copyright: The image and sound published here is copyright by Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Germany or other individuals. It is not to be reproduced wholly or in part without prior written permission of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. Please contact newsroom@porsche.com for further information.


Henry Leutwyler Has worked for various publications including “The New York Times Magazine”, “Vogue” and “Vanity Fair”. He published his book of photographs, Document, in 2016. info@foleygallery.com
Related Content

Most popular

  1. Custom liveries for the new 935
  2. The cult of Luftgekühlt
  3. Now available to order: new Cayenne S Coupé
  4. 50 Years of the Porsche 914
  5. New special exhibition “50 Years of the Porsche 917 – Colours of Speed”
Social Media