If photographer Annie Leibovitz thought that by giving the lay person the inside scoop on her work she was dispelling the glamour and making it all seem sort of every day, she was very wrong. Leibovitz’s life has been extraordinary; her camera has taken her to places and given her experiences that are out of the realm of most of our lives. And while most of us have seen a number of these images before, its fun to look at a picture and then read Leibovitz’s own account of how that particular shot came together. Leibovitz initially conceived of this book as a sort of how-to for young photographers, but it grew into a memoir of her career, illustrated, of course with her famous photos. Each chapter speaks to a different segment of Leibovitz work: her conceptual pictures, advertising, working with Hollywood royalty and REAL royalty, to name just a few. And she also includes some lovely glimpses into the way she works with her subjects; my favorite was the chapter on the smile, highlighted with a picture of her daughter Sarah.
It became obvious after reading this book and listening to Leibovitz’s conversation with Bob that Leibovitz’s is one of those artists for whom ideas can’t quite leave alone. At one point in the interview, Bob asked Leibovitz if she still enjoys just taking her camera, leaving behind all the stuff of magazine shots, and heading out by herself. This is a woman who’s been shooting photographs professionally since 1970 and yet, as she responded to that question, she got so excited that she exclaimed, “just talking about this makes me want to leave right now, and head out on the road!”
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