Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Annie Liebovitz "At Work"



I finished Annie's latest book At Work last night. If you're looking for lighting secrets and how-to details you'll be disappointed. Instead, the book focuses on the challenges behind her shoots and how she creates in different situations. Personally, I love the anecdotes and descriptions. Her words heavily out weigh her pictures on topics such as John & Yoko, Demi Moore, George W. Bush, The Queen, The Rolling Stones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Sharpton and Vanity Fair.

I'm still getting over the fact that she created her famous Rolling Stone cover of John & Yoko at their apartment in the Dakota, hours before he was killed. I never could process that one.

There's a review of the book on Strobist and I published these words in the comment thread:

Two lines worth sharing:

1. "As much as I love pictures that have been set up, and as important as those pictures are to me, I'd rather photograph something that occurs on its own."

2. "I've never been able to make strobe light look as beautiful as natural light."

Coming from the world's number one photographer of highly lit, stylized, set-up portraits, these are powerful statements. I'd say that's a tall nod to the ways of Robert Frank, Gary Winogrand, Lee Friedlander and the documentary legends.

Maybe she's just waxing nostalgic for the 1970's Rolling Stone days...but it's a tall reminder that important work isn't just about the physics behind a photograph, but what that photograph means when art and science merge.

2 comments:

Karen Wise said...

Thanks Mike, I really look forward to reading At Work. Like those excerpts...

On a second note, I tried to leave a comment on your shots of Ani DiFranco, to no avail. I cannot believe how close you got to her. Long lens? The black and whites are so beautiful too, so tonal.
And of course I love that song..

Michael said...

Thx Karen,

It's a great read. I used an 80-200 for the Ani shots. She was just on fire.