This weekend I had the absolute pleasure of watching the biography of an incredible photographer, Annie Leibovitz.
It tells her story well, centering around the production of a book of her work(A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005). So, we get to see her comments on the work as she decides what to put in the book and as she looks back on her past, there are interviews with family and friends, as well as film footage and photos of her youth. It does jump a bit, from current work to old, from childhood to the last few years but this method actually made it even more interesting. It was personal and there are some great candid moments and times where she speaks to her daughter that are really touching.
She has become known as a portrait artist, particularly of celebrities. She tells vivid stories with each picture and expresses parts of the subject’s personality through the theme, story, fashion, pose and expression.
WARNING: This will be a long post as I cannot decide which photos I like best..
She was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and is the third of 6 children. The family travelled a lot because Annie’s father Sam was a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force. ‘Life Behind a Lens’ shows how family photographs were very important to her mother, Marilyn, and Annie began taking photos when they were stationed in Vietnam. After studying painting at the San Fransico art institute and some time spent in a kibbutz in Israel, she took night classes in photography and began working for (the new at the time) Rolling Stone Magazine. She became chief photographer and was instrumental in the magazine’s style that became iconic.
She says in the movie that she captures the moments between the big events, the things that happen behind the scenes, the thoughtful expressions, the real people behind the media haze. Her inventive and wildly creative images still stand out today in a world saturated with imagery. This in itself is testmament to her greatness.
Annie Leibovitz was the photographer who took the famous picture of Yoko Ono and John Lennon that made the Rolling Stone cover. Five hours after it was taken he was shot and killed.
Due to her mother’s background in dance she was fascinated by movement and how it is captured on camera. Hence she has done work for American Ballet Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Mikhail Baryshnikov.
After Rolling Stone she moved on to Vanity Fair and continues to do great work for them as well as private pieces and photography for Vogue.
Annie’s love, Susan Sontag, a well known writer, passed away in 2004. In ‘Life Through A Lens’ we see how she inspired Annie and gave constructive criticism. They went to Sarajevo as Susan wanted her to capture real life, the despair, the pain, the reality of that place. Preparing her book, A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005, and compiling her favourite images of Susan was integral to the grieving process after her death.
To quote Vanity Fair: Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress and is the recipient of many other honors, including the Barnard College Medal of Distinction and the Infinity Award in Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography. She was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. She lives in New York with her three children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle.
She is, I agree.. a living legend.
http://www.ppmag.com/web-exclusives/2006/12/american-masters-annie-leibovi.html, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/sf/2-29-liebovitz1.jpg, http://www.vogue.com/images/vogue/feature/120505/img01.jpg, http://musie.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/alice-wonderland-1.jpg, http://bohemianeden.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/leibovitz460.jpg, http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/over-exposed-is-annie-leibovitz-worthy-of-a-retrospective-at-the-national-portrait-gallery-849918.html, http://www.zimbio.com/Celebrity+Portal/articles/tlnzCqRLTDO/ANNIE+LEIBOVITZ+COVERS+VANITY+FAIR, http://www.mutanteggplant.com/vitro-nasu/2009/07/27/merce-cunningham-rip/,
Thanks to Vogue, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.