Thursday, November 20, 2008

Annie Leibovitz at Work

Got the book yesterday, read it, and was quite pleasantly surprised. Ms. Leibovitz discusses in detail her thoughts and preparation on a wide range of shoots and subjects (the shoot of the Queen is especially interesting), from her long and storied career. It includes a number of photographs that are rather small and really don't do justice to many of the images (most especially the aforementioned Queen photographs).

I highly recommend it. You can get it here.


Mike S. said...

AL gets slagged relentlessly by other photographers--most common knocks seem to be that she's a pedestrian photographer at best; that her work is no better than a lot of other photographers', so why does she get all the plum jobs; and that it's merely her celebrity status that keeps her afloat.

I'd say that the first accusation is outright false; the second, above my pay grade to decide; and the third, yes and no.

Are there photog's out there doing equally "good" work? Doubtless. Is she the "best" (whatever that means) photographer ever to press a shutter? Nahh. There have been many others with better technical ability and aesthetic vision. Nothing really special about her "look", IMO.

Would she have been picked over every A-list photographer in Britain and the US to photograph the Queen if her work was pedestrian? Doubtful. Her reputation for delivering what the client wants, and her ear for the PR aspects of such a high-profile job got her that assignment. She worked two weeks for 25 minutes with the Queen, and turned out some fine shots doing it.

I liked her explanations of her "process". She came across as modest, even humble, and aware of but not caught up in the celebrity maelstrom that surrounds her.

Good book.

mmdesign said...

I agree with a large portion of this (I think she has a beautiful look in her commercial work for Vogue).

I was in a discussion about her work in an online forum (it was about 50/50 for and against) and most of the reasons a lot of them actually despised her was, they said, that she had no heart and that her images were cartoonish. I don't agre that she has no heart and I do find some of her images cartoonish, only because that's what she was going for in those shots.

I watched the documentary on her and saw an awful lot to like. I also saw a lot that left me shaking my head.

Thanks for adding your thoughts.