Annie Leibowitz: through the lens of a female fashion photographer
Spontaneity and a selective eye that knows how to tactfully adapt to the subject has helped Annie Leibovitz capture the superlative essence, conceptual fineness, intimate detail, and pure honesty in her photographs.
Annie is among the greatest photographers of her time. She’s someone who knows how to transition between subjects – from models and pop stars to politicians and royals.
Creating some controversial and some other popular images, Leibovitz draws inspiration from the age of documentaries but isn’t uncomfortable with the theatre genre. She has truly bridged the gap between fine art and commercial art.
Her Life behind the Lens
Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut and discovered an interest in photography when she travelled to the Philippines with her mother where her father was stationed during the Vietnam War. She took her first clicks there and joined a course in photography after returning to San Francisco.
Being a truly unique photographer requires seeing things through different perspectives. It’s not what you see, but how you see it. The Diploma in Fashion Photography course in Bangalore and Cochin at JD Institute of Fashion Technology for beginners is more focused on developing and polishing the skills of the starters making them confident enough to handle the camera and imparting knowledge on thinking and discovering creative ideas.
In 1970, she landed her first assignment with the “Rolling Stone” magazine. Later, she did a shoot for The Beetles singer John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono the day he was shot dead in front of his apartment.
In 1983 she joined the magazine Vanity Fair as its first contributing photographer. This stint saw her engage in a lot of bold and staged photo shoots with celebrities and statesmen.
Through The Lens of the Stalwart Photographer
Spending decades capturing iconic personalities and events, she has brought together all disciplines in her work. Her versatility is such that she is able to mould her photography style to the medium (magazines, huge billboards, galleries or books).
Here’s a compilation of a few of the most defining moments of her career.
- Yes, the John Lennon and Yoko Ono photo shoot grabbed attention since it was done hours before John Lennon died. The pictures show a nude Lennon entwined with Ono in one final embrace.
- Many may have tried to emulate her but her style of portraiture is unique. When President Richard Nixon resigned, she was one of the last journalists allowed into the White House. As Nixon got on the red carpet that led him to the helicopter, all shutterbugs were on him and moved away when the door closed. The moment the flight took off, Annie clicked the guards rolling the carpet. The photo drew a lot of attention. Annie has the ability to convey a powerful moment and convert the mundane to theatrical.
- Whoopi Goldberg’s shot from the top of her bathing in a bathtub full of milk to show her “emerging from what was – which was all white”.
- Demi Moore’s aesthetically-done nude photo shoot while she was pregnant shows her profile image. One hand of hers covers the breasts and the other rests tenderly on her heavily-pregnant belly.
- A formal portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken in the drawing room of Buckingham Palace in 2007 shows the queen in full grandeur and unveils Annie’s inclination towards the classy.
- In the 1990s Leibovitz travelled to Sarajevo to document Bosnia’s struggle for freedom and that’s where she clicked this impactful picture. The fallen bicycle of a teenage boy just killed serves as a hard-hitting reminder of the fragility of life.
One needs to learn to approach photography as a fine art form to create visually compelling and exciting images like Annie; a form of skill cultivation exclusive to the tutelage in courses such as the Diploma in Fashion Photography at JD Institute of Fashion Technology.
As she once said in an interview, “What is a photographer’s life? It’s just a life, looking through a lens.” But, to be good at the job, you need a keen eye for detail and an ability to perceive situations the way Annie does!