Janice’s Review Blog

Book tells stories behind photos

Posted on: July 25, 2009

Book describes "Annie Leibovitz at Work."

Book describes "Annie Leibovitz at Work."

On a recent visit to the library, I picked up Annie Leibovitz’s book “Annie Leibovitz at Work.”   In 2000, I was fortunate enough to see her Phoenix Art Museum Exhibit, “Annie Leibovitz: Women.”  As I looked at those photos I wondered about the who, what, where, when, why and how of them.  I guess the journalist in me was already alive and well.

This book answers all of those questions  as Leibovitz breaks her work into short sketches detailing the assignments that led to the photo opportunity.  Her more than 100 photos include a Vanity Fair cover of a pregnant, naked Demi Moore, the last photo of John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono on Dec. 8 1980 a few hours before his murder and photos of Queen Elizabeth II.  She explains that Whoopi Goldberg lounged in a tub of heated milk for her photo opportunity, and she shares the photo of Keith Haring standing naked but camouflaged in a room he painted before painting himself to match.

“”I have learned how to organize and direct large groups,” wrote Leibovitz, “but I would always rather photograph an individual.  No group picture is going to have the power of an individual protrait.”

Leibovitz lists the equipment that she used throughout her career and changes in equipment over the years.  The book contains a timeline of her life listing over 40 years devoted to photography, a publishing history with thumbnail photos and descriptions and her answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions.

“The orginal tripod is my two legs,” wrote Leibovitz.  “Being able to move, to go up and down, is an important part of my work.”

For any photographer who wants to learn the secrets of a master photographer or for anyone just curious about the thought that goes into a photo shoot, this book contains the answers.


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