Almost everyone familiar with popular photography has heard of Annie Leibovitz. And even if you hadn’t heard of her, chances are you’ve been exposed to her work at one time or another. From shooting for Rolling Stone magazine, celebrity portraits, magazine covers for Vanity Fair and most recently, commercial work for the Gap, her portfolio is vast and wide. You can’t miss an exhibit like this…now showing at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco until May 25. For more information, the official website can be found here.
I got the chance to see the exhibit recently and if you are a portrait photographer, you MUST see it yourself. I plan on going back at least two more times. Included in the exhibit are Annie’s more famous celebrity portraits, like those of a pregnant Demi Moore, Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II. The exhibit features a very interesting room entailing the editing process of her photos, narrowing down her work by choosing from each year between 1990 and 2005.
But what I loved most were the photos from Annie’s personal life. I’ve always wondered how master photographers like Annie manage to record everyday events in their life. It’s always been challenge shooting my personal life – trying to keep an objective eye, maintain artistry and preserve the moments I know slip away so quickly like sand in hand. But when I snap away at my own children, and edit my work later – I always have difficulty selecting photos which I feel represent my life and my work. It was so reasuring to see the work of Annie and see how an ordinary day in her life can seem amazing and inspiring. While her snap shots were obviously not her works of high art, she captured moments that meant the world to to her.
When does one stop shooting your own life and start living it instead? At each party, vacation and road trip, I find myself behind the camera recording each smile and moment. But this is who I am. I cannot seperate my photographer self from my mom/wife self. Each photograph is honest. I realize that you take photos not always to idealize your life, but to immortalize it as your eyes see it.
Thanks, Annie for teaching me that.