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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Annie Leibovitz
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03/14/2010 12:05:06 AM · #1
I was in Barnes and Noble with a friend tonight, and I was looking at a coffee table book with pictures by Annie Leibovitz.

I like Annie Leibovitz, but looking at some of the pictures in that book, they'd be skewered if they were put up here (or over at Sig). There were pictures that were straight up out of focus. There were pictures with an incredible amount of noise in them, and there were pictures with bad lighting. But, because Annie Leibovitz took them they're great art. I was looking around for some of the pics online, and haven't found them. But, I did findThis
03/14/2010 12:14:07 AM · #2
Here are some more from her. I like her too, but some of her work I am not that jazzed on. She is uber famous though, so I guess she can publish what we would consider junk and get paid lots for it!
03/14/2010 09:30:43 AM · #3
Originally posted by ragamuffingirl:

There were pictures that were straight up out of focus. There were pictures with an incredible amount of noise in them...


The question really is "did any of those issues affect the image or emotion captured?" Those issues may or may not have been relevant or affected the moment.

I'm no AL fan. I think she is way way beyond overrated but grant that she has taken some amazing images over the years. pound for pound she falls way short more than she succeeds IMHO. I do agree her name helps give her a pass and that bums me out.

A good deal of people and many here at DPC get blinded by the technicals and often miss really great captures because they get distracted by those elements and can't get past them. Too often, they are completely irrelevant to the overall quality of the image.
03/14/2010 10:03:47 AM · #4
Originally posted by ragamuffingirl:

There were pictures that were straight up out of focus. There were pictures with an incredible amount of noise in them, and there were pictures with bad lighting.

Don't worry.
Once you r able to control focus and grain in your work, you'll start looking for out of focus and strange artifacts for your images. It's perfectly natural an enthusiastic photographer aspiring to shoot a focused image (and that means a lot for his skills). After that, you'll find that a focused image without grain isn't all you need for a good picture. Just ask your self these question:
- Why she (A. Leibovitz) authorize these images to be published?
- Do you think she's crazy, trying to kill her reputation?
- Are these pics really bad or the problem resides in your capacity to understand it?

Never underestimate a Master, but your capacity to understand him.
And a good exercise for an aspiring photographer is to try and emulate the masters work.
03/14/2010 10:59:23 AM · #5
In the version of this picture in the book Brad Pitt is as orange as that sheet. Image

The question really is "did any of those issues affect the image or emotion captured?" Those issues may or may not have been relevant or affected the moment.

For the most part I would say no, but that's part of why I like Annie Leibovitz - she doesn't seem to worry too much about technical correctness.
03/14/2010 11:09:17 AM · #6
You have to remember what made Annie famous: she was "there", she was a witness. She was on-site and shooting at most of the formative events of what I think of as my generation and my people. Her success was tied in directly with the explosive success of Jann Wenner's Rolling Stone Magazine.

And once you pass a certain threshold, you become essentially tenured as an artist. I have no problem with that. Few artists ever "make it" commercially in their lifetimes, and I don't begrudge the success of any who do, no matter how little (or how much) I admire their work.

R.

Message edited by author 2010-03-14 11:10:04.
03/14/2010 11:40:32 AM · #7
I have no issue with her. I don't care about what she does but I do take issue with viewers that automatically credit her work as genius because her name is attached to it. I thought the Disney shoot was a complete horror show and an embarrassment BUT as usual people thought it was amazing. Personally I'm not sure they actually looked at the work. I thought it was so incredibly bad, it blew me away that Disney handed her a check.

Jorge would have torn that shoot up.

I'm not sure people are even scrutinizing at this point. Again, she can do whatever she pleases, I could care less but people should use their eye fairly when looking at her work as they do mine or yours and NOT get blinded by the name. Again, she has taken many, many great images, no argument there.

2266919656_b05e4316f4.jpg

2266129305_4d36053698.jpg

2266131663_13ddbf6459.jpg

And it gets worse! Please tell me this is either a bad dream...or a bad joke. I mean, look.

eta: I have no issue with AL but the people calling this work great or amazing or genius are just plain stewed and that's what gets me.

Message edited by author 2010-03-14 11:46:17.
03/14/2010 11:46:36 AM · #8
Perhaps she'd just downloaded the 30 day trial of Photoshop and got a bit over excited. Happens to us all.
03/14/2010 11:56:08 AM · #9
The Emperor is wearing a thong.
03/14/2010 12:06:35 PM · #10
Originally posted by clive_patric_nolan:

Perhaps she'd just downloaded the 30 day trial of Photoshop and got a bit over excited. Happens to us all.


hahahahahah

Hey listen, I've fucked up a few photo shoots in my day but what get's me is that I never had a choir or people ranting about my incredible genius after the disaster. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm jealous.
03/14/2010 12:10:29 PM · #11
or she just needed the money, catered to people who don't and concealed the effect of her actions, both on her self-esteem and the integrity of her work…
03/14/2010 12:35:52 PM · #12
the work that catapulted her to stardom did for photography that John Cassavetes did for film. AL let the subjects emulate who they are ... no frills, no gimmicks ... "the work" is key and some do sell out to maintain. AL has been consistent 'till recently. her finances has gotten the best of her and she has lost some of her independent moxy. we all hope she can get it back.
03/14/2010 12:44:59 PM · #13
Originally posted by zeuszen:

or she just needed the money, catered to people who don't and concealed the effect of her actions, both on her self-esteem and the integrity of her work…


Hey, I'm yelling at the Choir. Disney's fingerprints might be all over that shoot in a negative way...that's half of my guess but I still think she could have coaxed better reactions from all that highly paid talent no matter what. I mean, look at the silly expressions on their faces. Beyoncees look had me rolling on the floor.

Again, my main issue is with people that automatically lavish undue credit on whoever because of their name. I know this is subjective but sometimes crap is just crap and her name or any other doesn't change that, if it is indded so.

eta: I know I'm throwing opinions around like nickles but it's really good fun.

Message edited by author 2010-03-14 12:47:45.
03/14/2010 01:10:00 PM · #14
Each hollywood movie is its own multi-million dollar corporation. No artist has the last word, not Liebovitz, not Burton, not Depp. I don't know what you think the flaws are for those publicity pictures, but they are designed to convey a certain faux-surreal sense of "style" that will titillate a potential audience without defamiliarizing them (the goal of true art). They achieve that. Finito, completo.
03/14/2010 01:11:18 PM · #15
Notice that the tea party picture is promoting the Disneyland teacup ride. Get the picture yet?
03/14/2010 01:22:35 PM · #16
Originally posted by posthumous:

Notice that the tea party picture is promoting the Disneyland teacup ride. Get the picture yet?


And there's the Pocahontas film, and the Aladdin film, and so forth. She did exactly what they wanted, and she did it for meny when she needed it badly. I have never understood why people slam her for this. Is there some point at which, once you've been accepted as an artist, that you're no longer allowed to do shoots for clients to their specifications for money? Not even obscene amounts of money?

Look, patronage has been a part of the arts forever, and it has been producing some crap work forever as well...

R.
03/14/2010 01:31:24 PM · #17
Other than someone used a heavy hand with the Photoshop, I don't see anything wrong with those pictures. Beyonce looks how I probably looked last time I rode that evil tea-cup ride. Oliver Platt looks how he ALWAYS looks. Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony - well.... I'm sure they're solely responsible for how silly they look because NOBODY tells them what to do. Surely not some lowly photographer. *sniffs and acts haughty*
03/14/2010 01:33:42 PM · #18
Originally posted by posthumous:

Notice that the tea party picture is promoting the Disneyland teacup ride.


Oh! Is that what it's doing?

I think they're a terrible set of images. Am I allowed to state that the expressions on almost all the models look completely silly to my eye...stiff...unconvincing? For the massive, massive, massive amount of money spent I think they could have done much better. Over Out Finito, Completo.

Message edited by author 2010-03-14 13:42:20.
03/14/2010 01:45:09 PM · #19
Originally posted by pawdrix:

Originally posted by posthumous:

Notice that the tea party picture is promoting the Disneyland teacup ride.


Oh! Is that what it's doing?

I think they're a terrible set of images. Am I allowed to state that the expressions on almost all the models look completely silly to my eye...stiff...unconvincing? For the massive, massive, massive amount of money spent I think they could have done much better. Over Out Finito, Completo.


see, you're confusing me. these images aren't even for the movie. they're for the theme parks.

but my point about faux-surrealism still stands. Disney and Dali worked together at some point in the 40s. Disney won't be making that mistake again.
03/14/2010 01:50:11 PM · #20
Originally posted by posthumous:

...Disney and Dali worked together at some point in the 40s. Disney won't be making that mistake again.


Ha!
03/14/2010 01:55:24 PM · #21
Any of those 3 images would likely ribbon in a challenge at DPC (assuming they would fit the challenge and comply with the editing rules). I can hardly think of better promotional posters for those types of movies and theme parks. Clearly my photography ability and taste are not at the level of Pawdrix's but maybe some day I'll get there, then I will be able to understand his dislike for the fact that there is someone whose work accomplishes the objective, is in demand and gets paid very well even for less than perfect portraiture work.

03/14/2010 02:01:38 PM · #22
Originally posted by senor_kasper:

Any of those 3 images would likely ribbon in a challenge at DPC


Please don't tell me you went there...?
03/14/2010 02:47:25 PM · #23
Originally posted by pawdrix:

Originally posted by senor_kasper:

Any of those 3 images would likely ribbon in a challenge at DPC


Please don't tell me you went there...?


OK, I won't tell you.
03/14/2010 03:12:20 PM · #24
So, I take it this Liebovitz person is some kind of photographer? ;)
03/14/2010 03:18:12 PM · #25
Originally posted by chazoe:

So, I take it this Liebovitz person is some kind of photographer? ;)


You might say that... One of the most famous of the last third of the 20th century, actually...

R.
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