Not totally photo related, not just a journal. A bit of both.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Annie Leibovitz "At Work"

 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sun Valley, Idaho 1997, 
© Annie Leibovitz

This morning, while having coffee, I read Annie Leibovitz's book At Work. A really good book detailing her life as a photographer. Complete with photos and information on how some of the shoots came about. Worth locating at your bookstore, library or Amazon.

There are dozens of fantastic and readily recognizable images in the book. Such as the Rolling Stone cover of John Lennon's last image taken hours before his murder curled up nude with Yoko Ono. Demi Moore's nude pregnant profile for Vanity fair. The recent shots of Queen Elizabeth II - and the story behind the controversy of that shoot.  I also found out she was the photographer behind the American Express 'Member Since..." campaign in the 1980s.

Aside from the iconic Austrian skier shot of Arnold above - shot while she was lying in the snow during a brief lull in a blizzard, this shot of Nixon's helicopter - which would no longer have the designation of Marine One - leaving the White House after his resignation really struck me. Nixon's absence in the photo, and the red carpet entangling the US Army guards as they held on to their hats in the rotor wash was a great shot. She wrote that other White House pool photographers who had long lenses shot his V salute on the steps and had all but stopped shooting when she snapped this in between shot with her Nikon F before the helicopter was fully aloft. It ran in Rolling Stone.

Richard Nixon leaving the White House. Rolling Stone, Sept 1974
© Annie Leibovitz

One quote in particular from the book that I think rings so true:

"I'm always perplexed when people say that a photograph has captured someone. A photograph is just a tiny slice of a subject. A piece of them in the moment. It seems presumptuous to think that you can get more than that."


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