Annie Leibovitz | At Work

Annie Leibovitz At Work is a thorough look into Leibovitz's profession, telling you about how she approaches different subjects, makes her work from start to end, and gear. This book was especially useful in helping me learn how to work with various themes. It gave me a new way to communicate with people I was previously unwilling to photograph, including politicians.

This is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in the photographic process. Annie Leibovitz has undoubtedly taken some of the most memorable and historic photographs of the last 40 years, and in this book, she opens up and discusses the situations and stories behind photographs that have become so iconic that they are practically taken for granted.

The book covers her entire career, from Richard Nixon's resignation through her incredibly stunning photographs of the Queen of England in 2007. But there's a lot more here than just pictures. It's the only photo book I've ever examined where the text is almost as interesting as the photographs.

I've seen and examined most of the images before. However, the backstory she provides is quite useful. She discusses the evolution of ideas and cooperation. How she gained (or lost) a person's trust. What she did with the photos and how she did it. The book has a lot of information in it. She manages to cram 197 photographs into just 216 pages, text and all. She jumps from story to story fast, cramming a lot of information into a few words. I'm sure I'll read it two or three more times before putting it on the shelf.

I've read a few interviews with Leibovitz over the years, and it's never been easy to discern whether she's terribly self-absorbed and egomaniacal, or incredibly down-to-earth and practical. This book elucidates precisely how much she belongs to the latter group. None of the tales appear to be romanticised. Some are extremely amusing, while others are quite depressing. Leibovitz's tone is always balanced and realistic throughout.

She's not hesitant to talk about how a shot came to be, who came up with what ideas, how prepared or unprepared she was, and whether she feels like she succeeded or failed. She is clearly a working photographer, and despite her self-assurance, she does not appear to exalt herself or her work in any way. When she narrates the experience of photographing the Bush administration in 2001, you can see how pragmatic she is.

They wanted to film at the White House, but Annie said no. She'd shot in there a few times before, and the massive line of windows behind the desk is notorious for causing a lot of issues. She also despised the way Bush had decorated it.

And it's when you read things like that that you realise you're reading about someone who has lived an extraordinary life. She was present at the launch of Apollo 17, our final mission to the moon. When Nixon resigned, she was present. The Rolling Stones, the Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns, and the OJ Simpson trial have all taken her on the road. In Sarajevo and Rwanda, she captured humanity at its ugliest.

She's shot practically every cultural figure of the last half-century, and she's deserved every shot she's gotten. Getting a glimpse of genius at work is all it takes to read this book.

Annie Leibovitz is a well-known American photographer who is best recognised for her evocative celebrity pictures. As shown in her Disney Dream Portraits, she is adept at capturing her subjects' individuality and inner life. Her photos portray intimate or staged moments that showcase the humorous and expressive characteristics of her sitters (2011). She once declared, "I no longer believe that there is such a thing as objectivity." "Everyone has a point of view. Some people call it style, but what we’re really talking about is the guts of a photograph. When you trust your point of view, that’s when you start taking pictures."

The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others, have collections of the artist's pictures. Leibovitz is currently based in New York City.