Thursday, 14 August 2014

Annie Leibovitz

Let's be honest, photography is dominated by men. Just looking at fashion photographers, the best and most well known are men. Mario Testino, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Bruce Weber, Terry Richardson, Steven Meisel ... the list goes on. So who are the best women photographers? I only know of Annie Leibovitz.

Truth is, female photographers are not as famous as their male counterparts. With that being said, female photographers need to be grateful that Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famoys photographers in the world.

The Vogue and Vanity Fair favourite has taken some of the world's most famous photographs. A naked John Lennon spooning Yoko Ono, Whoopi Goldberg in milk, Leonardo di Caprio with a swan and Demi Moore at eight months pregnant; those are just a few of the photographs the photography powerhouse has produced.

Leibovitz was introduced to the world of celebrity photography while working at Rolling Stones and it was those photographs which defined the Rolling Stones Magazine we see today.

One of the most famous photographs is the unconventional portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Leibovitz originally wanted to re-create the image from the Double Fantasy album cover but instead ended up creating one of the world's most famous photographs.
Even if you don't know Leibovitz, Ono or Lennon, you probably know the photograph which made it to the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine.

"What is interesting is she said she'd take her top off and I said, 'Leave everything on' — not really preconceiving the picture at all. Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn't help but feel that he was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, 'You've captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it'll be on the cover.' I looked him in the eye and we shook on it." - Annie Leibovitz

This was the last professional photograph of John Lennon, he died five hours later.

One of my favourite Leibovitz photographs is that of a young Leonardo di Caprio. The Vanity Fair photograph was taken in 1997 at the height of di Caprio's Titanic fame.

In the 1980s, Leibovitz started working for Vanity Fair magazine and it was at that publication where a naked Demi Moore became the subject of one of the world's most famous magazine covers.

More Demi Moore was the August 1991 cover where Moore was seven months pregnant and naked. Not only is it the most iconic cover of all time, it is also the reason there are so many women who pose naked for editorials, magazine covers and their own personal photographs.
Like di Caprio, this photograph was taken at the height of her career. In 1991, Ghost was the highest grossing film and she was married to Bruce Willis and living like a true A-lister.

In 2007 Moore revealed that the photograph was not intended for commercial use. If we didn't have this photograph, would pregnancy photos be a trend amongst women? I highly doubt it, it might have even become a taboo. The photograph received harsh backlash from many as they claimed it objectified women.
American Society of Magazine Editors listed it as the second best magazine cover of the last forty years.

"I did feel glamorous, beautiful and more free about my body. I don't know how much more family oriented I could possibly have gotten." - Demi Moore

Demi Moore might get the award for most controversial cover of all time but the King of Pop holds the title for the best Vanity Fair cover star of all time.
The photograph was taken by Leibovitz in 1989 for the December 1989 cover.
The issue honoured the most famous people of the '80s and without a doubt, Michael Jackson was the most famous man of the 1980s.

Leibovitz has moved with the times and has used different technologies to enhance her photographs. However I still prefer her traditional photography. There is something very real and human about a portrait and Leibovitz has become a master at portraits.

Besides fashion editorials and magazine covers, Leibovitz has also photographed various fashion campaigns including Louis Vuitton

Fact is, Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous photographer of her time and her being a woman has nothing to do with it. Leibovitz does not inspire only women to be better photographers but men as well.
Hopefully in the near future, we will have more women who are as inspiring as Annie Leibovitz is.


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