Monday, 5 March 2012

Annie Leibovitz

At the suggestion of my tutor I've been looking in some depth into the work of Annie Leibovitz. I took out a number of books from the library (everything they had plus some inter-library stuff too.) I began by looking at her portrait work - the kind of images that she is most famous for. She has produced some very accomplished images. A lot of varied compositions and interesting viewpoints help to make her work in this genre stand out. I've posted some of my favourites below including the Demi Moore shot that was so controversial when it appeared on a magazine cover.

Whoopi Goldberg

Lance Armstrong

Demi Moore

Reading about her earlier days at Rolling Stone magazine and the move from film to digital was interesting. Like most top end pro photographers she has a team that works for her. Most of the post production work appears to be done by the team (relying on their specialised digital skills) rather than doing it herself. I should imagine this is pretty common amongst the pro's allowing Leibovitz to concentrate on the photography.

I have also looked at some of her project work away from celebrity portraits. The style here is much looser and some of the earlier black and white images have a vitality to them that can be lost with studio work.

The book "pilgrimage" where she went out and photographed her favourite things and places has variety and depth to it. The lighting is quite dark in most of the images whether it be Niagara Falls or a dress worn by Emily Dickinson and an atmosphere of sombreness sets a pervasive tone throughout. The project was originally conceived with her companion Susan Sondheim before she died and I wonder if the sombreness was part of the original concept or if it has found its way into the book in a more organic way.

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