Annie Leibovitz is a famous American portrait photographer and is best known for taking extraordinary and yet unique photos of celebrities. She is one of the most demanded photographer for celebrity pictures and became a celebrity herself that way. Most of the photographs she taken have been featured mostly in magazines such as Rolling Stones, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Leibovitz has always been interested in the arts since a young age. Her mother was a dance instructor and influenced her to take dance classes not only from her, but from many other teachers.
In high school she focused in music. She specialized in the guitar and wrote numerous songs, eventually becoming the head of her schools’ folk sing club. When she attended university however, she took an interest in visual arts and considered being a painting instructor as a career. It wasn’t until her family was stationed in the Philippines (her father was an Air Force lieutenant colonel) and a trip down Japan, that she was awestruck by the wonderment of photography. When she went back to school, she took night classes for photography.
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” – Annie Leibovitz. This quote is a little look of how she sees her images, and how much she loves what she takes. Indirectly she also means that we should love what we take pictures of because what’s the point of making others like a photograph you don’t like.
“Where Romance is Celebrated” (2009)
This is a photograph featuring Zac Efron as Prince Philip and Vanessa Hudgens as Princess Aurora in the Disney film, Sleeping Beauty, recreating the awakening kiss scene. This is one of the many photographs Leibovitz took for Disney Parks “What will you Celebrate?” campaign portraying highlight movie moments of different Disney animations. The atmosphere of the photograph is enchanting and the gesture of the two faces together is quite romantic. The costumes and make up enhances the features of the models, making them look too perfect. The dark background and roses make the photo also very surreal; almost fairy tale-like.
In this photograph the roses and the bed frames around Efron and Hudgens to make emphasis on them together. Leibovitz also uses Rule of Thirds to make their faces the centre of interest. She uses artificial lighting above them making an angelic effect and intensely shines on the princess’s face, making her complexion paler thus contrasting with the dark background.
“John Lennon and Yoko Ono” (1980)
In this photograph is the last photograph ever taken of John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono naked on a bed before he was assassinated. It is an intimate moment between the two; holding each other tenderly while he’s giving her a kiss displays their deep love for one another. The bareness and position he is in also displays the vulnerability of human passion.
The one evident compositional element is making John Lennon the centre of interest, by making the eye focus on him because he’s curled up in a ball or fetal position. Also Yoko’s black clothing contrasts Lennon’s light skin. Leibovitz uses natural lighting, but since this is on of her earlier photographs the lighting is nothing to creative and simple.
Conclusion and Legacy
In the being the majority of her images were in black and white because of her lack of education, but later self taught herself about colour development and uses that more often. Leibovitz approach to taking her images is unexpected and out of the box; one never really knows what her next piece will turn out. She captures her effects with artificiality, flair and outrageousness that makes her artwork different from other portrait photographers. Generally she doesn’t really care about other’s opinions on how to take photos and often gets in trouble by the media by doing things that might offend other people.
But all in all, we should admire her genius as a photographer and her “risk taking” attitude on how to interact with her subjects and audience. I first got interested in Leibovitz because of the Miley Cyrus incident and the work we went over in class, she truly is fascinating in how she see celebrities in such unusual poses. Out of the two photographs that I chose in this essay, the one I like the most is “Where Romance is Celebrated” because the Disney series are my favorite works by her. I just can’t help loving and reminiscing my childhood.
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