Annie Leibovitz at Work

I picked up this book at my local library recently – Annie Leibovitz at Work. As it says on the back:


This is a very easy book to read – mostly “in her own words” – “text based on conversations with Sharon Delano”, a journalist.  It gives a potted history of how she got into photography, and how some of her most famous images were made. And there is a good range of her images: from rock and roll divas to war-torn Sarajevo, from candid snaps to elaborately set up scenarios.  well worth poring over for inspiration.


Whoopi Goldberg, 1984

Judi Dench and Helen Mirren 2006

Quite apart from having access to “celebrities”, wouldn’t it be great to have the technical resources to create images like this?  She had the resources of some of the top-selling international magazines (“Rolling Stone”, “Vogue”…), as well as assistants and, most of all, great timing and a very discerning eye for what  makes an arresting image or a telling portrait.

And yet, at the end of the book, when she is probably the best-known photographer in the world, she describes how she was given just twenty minutes with Queen Elizabeth. I suppose that says something about our attitude to photography compared to other art forms: it has enormous popular appeal but is still seen as something fairly ephemeral.

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