Photographer Annie Leibovitz was born October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1970 she took a job at Rolling Stone magazine. In 1983 she began working for the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair. During the late 1980s, Leibovitz started to work on a number of high-profile advertising campaigns. From the 1990s to the present, she has been publishing and exhibiting her work.
While with Rolling Stone, Leibovitz developed her trademark technique, which involved the use of bold primary colours and surprising poses. Wenner has credited her with making many Rolling Stone covers collector’s items, most notably an issue that featured a nude John Lennon curled around his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono. Taken on December 8, 1980, Leibovitz’s photo of the former Beatle was shot just hours before his death.
In 1983, Leibovitz left Rolling Stone and began working for the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair. With a wider array of subjects, Leibovitz’s photographs for Vanity Fair ranged from presidents to literary icons to teen heartthrobs. To date, a number of Vanity Fair covers have featured Leibovitz’s stunning – and often controversial – portraits of celebrities. Demi Moore (very pregnant and very nude)
And Whoopi Goldberg (half-submerged in a bathtub of milk) are among the most remembered actresses to grace the cover in recent years.
Known for her ability to make her sitters become physically involved in her work, one of Leibovitz’s most famous portraits is of the late artist Keith Haring, who was best known for his graffiti-inspired drawings, which he first made in subway stations and later exhibited in museums. He painted himself like one of his canvases for the photo.
“I sometimes find the surface interesting. To say that the mark of a good portrait is whether you get them or get the soul – I don’t think this is possible all of the time.”
In 2005, the Brooklyn Museum of Art did a retrospective on her work entitled “Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005.”
A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005 is Leibovitz’s photographic account of the years during which the two women knew each other, and the pictures are both personal, of her parents,
“Brother Phillip and my Father, 1988”. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
Annie Leibovitz & Sarah, Rhinebeck, New York
And professional photos of Anjelina Jolie, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other Hollywood stars Leibovitz shot for the cover of Vanity Fair.
The book also contains images of landscapes, war reportage and portraits of the unfamous.
It was whilst at Paris Photo that one of Leibovitz’s images caught my eye and made me want to delve deeper not only into her background but her images too, which is why she has become my chosen photographer for this unit.
Below is the photo I immediately felt drawn to and I felt compelled to look and keep looking to see what it was that I first LIKED about the photo.
The masculinity of a woman who normally appears more feminine, the normality of the room that shows shared taste of both male and female but not necessarily by two people.
Does this photograph have anything to do with Feminism?
And what about the Punctum?
Is it the urge to want to straighten that rug?
Or the picture of the dog that seems to me like a memorial picture for some reason?
No, it’s the whole colour thing. Everything reminds me of the chemical that expels itself from the cigarette she holds in her hand. All I can see is nicotine and how it leaves that horrible yellow/orange tinge on everything that it can possibly cling too.
As much as I enjoy her work I do feel that Lebovitz has become lazy in the fact that lighting is already set up for her and she has a string of editors ready to “Perfect” her images. As I’m learning, I’m finding that the lighting and editing are just as much creativity as the image taken and I’d want that to be my own work.
A project like the Disney series that she worked on are so heavily art directed and digitally created that I don’t think you should call them photographs.
“Photographing” Queen Latifah as Ursula for Disney, 2011
Result – they basically took her face and put it onto a CGI body.