Caught in the Act of Leaving You

Caught in the Act of Leaving You – Multi-Media Project

I love to make music.  I’m not really that good, though.  However, I did write exactly one song and even learned to play it on the piano.  I can also carry a beat… usually.  But what’s most important is the joy I get from merely ‘trying’ to make music.

Photographing and recording myself on both audio and video is really, really hard.  The process took days.   And the editing took even longer.  But when all was said and done, I was glad for the challenge, of both tackling the technical aspects of the project and allowing myself to be exposed in a way I never had before.

… a small and intimate event

… a small and intimate event

I love to cook.  I love when my food is pretty… it tastes better that way.  I’m sure of it.  My tiny little kitchen is not great for photography.  It barely holds two people.  On a whim, I used a telephoto lens to creep right up on my ingredients.  For this collection, I wanted to capture this intimate experience in a way that left the viewer wanting to share this meal with me.  For me, visual art should be evocative.  With this collection, I hope to leave you with your mouth watering!

Ingredients

Mushrooms

Yellow Zucchini

Red Bell Pepper

Broccoli

Sauce

Pasta

Nom Nom

Annie Leibovitz – Artist Presentation

Annie Leibovitz 

leibovitz 1

Annie Leibovitz is famous… for many reasons.  She’s had, and continues to have, a highly successful career in documenting pop culture.  Her portrait work is recognizable, which is exactly what you want as a photographer; people saying, “That must be by Leibovitz” or “I can see the influence of Annie Leibovitz in this piece.”  Working for successful magazines over the years, and having genuine talent, put her work often in the public eye, and often as the subject of controversy.

Annie’s photography career truly began in 1970 when she was hired as a staff photographer for the newly launched, now iconic, magazine Rolling Stone.   Three years later, the magazine’s publisher, Jann Wenner, promoted her to chief photographer.  She held this position for the next ten years. While with Rolling Stone, Leibovitz developed her trademark technique, which involved the use of bold primary colors, bold lighting, and surprising poses.  I also found a certain sense of humor, interesting props/sets/locations, and the ability to capture motion in many of her photographs.  During this time she photographed, not only musicians and bands, but other pop culture icons, as well.

leibovitz - blues brothers

leibovitz - ali

leibovitz - BruceCovers

leibovitz - costello leibovitz - streep

Perhaps the gig that really set her career in motion was photographing the band The Rolling Stones, first in San Francisco in ’71 and ’72 and then as their tour photographer in ’75.  She has spoken extensively about how this experience changed her as a professional photographer.  In interviews, she has mentioned the struggles she had during this time.  She was with the band non-stop for many months.

leibovitz - stones leibovitz_rolling_stones_tour_1975

Leibovitz shared all of their experiences and developed a close relationship with the lead singer, Mick Jagger. She also said, in regard to being deeply involved in a subject like this, “You can get amazing work, but you’ve got to be careful. The thing that saved me was that I had my camera by my side. It was there to remind me who I was and what I did. It separated me from them.”

Her favorite photo from the tour was a photo of Mick Jagger in an elevator.

leibovitz - mick

One of her most famous photoshoots was of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  Five hours after this photo was taken, John was shot and killed.

John and Yoko

In the 80’s, Leibovitz also worked for Vanity Fair and Vogue, where she used her trademark techniques of bold lighting and interesting poses to sell fashion.

leibovitz - demi cover

leibovitz - Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

leibovitz - obama

Leibovitz - anne-hathaway-vogue-cover

leibovitz - Rihanna-American-Vogue

 Leibovitz - Jessica-Chastain-Vogue

Leibovitz landed the job as the official photographer for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996.  She followed up with a collection of these photos in her book Olympic Portraits.

leibovitz - olympics 1

leibovitz - olympics 2

leibovitz - olympics 3

In 2007, Leibovitz was the first American asked to photograph Queen Elizabeth II.  This was a difficult shoot, full of logistical nightmares but inevitably produced brilliantly dramatic results.

leibovitz - queen-elizabeth-ii-2

leibovitz - queen-elizabeth-ii

Also in 2007, Leibovitz began working on the Disney Dream Portraits series.  She recreated moments from some of Disney’s classic movies using current pop stars as her subjects.

Jennifer Hudson Appears as Tiana in Latest Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

leibovitz - disney-dream Taylor-swift-rapunzel

leibovitz - disney-dream whoopi

Leibovitz-Disney-Dream - alice

Leibovitz-Disney-Dream-Scarlett

And a couple of “behind the scenes” views of the project:

leibovitz

leibovitz - disney-dream-photo-manipulation

Leibovitz has been at the center of public controversy on several occasions, namely with her portraits of Demi Moore, naked and pregnant, and Miley Cyrus, seemingly naked and 15 years old.

leibovitz - Demi-Moore

However, these photos have inspired her supporters.

leibovitz - influence

And she even inspired herself to be photographed nude while pregnant.

leibovitz - annie_leibovitz

Throughout her career, Leibovitz’s three main influences have been Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, and Robert Frank.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

henri cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered to be the father of photojournalism and helped develop street photography.  He, too, was often the subject of controversy.  When he photographed the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth he focused on the king’s adoring subjects and didn’t take a single photo of the king himself

henri cartier-Bresson - coronation

Many of his photographs were published in the book The Decisive Moment. He followed this with years of traveling the world photographing people and events that have changed history; the Chinese revolution, the Berlin Wall, Gandhi’s assassination, Che Guevara and Marilyn Monroe.  You can see the influence Henri Cartier-Bresson’s iconic portraits had on Leibovitz’s work.

henri cartier-Bresson - Chinese revolution 2

henri cartier-Bresson - chinese revolution

HCB1934003W00004

henri_cartier-bresson_gandhi

henri-cartier-bresson - Spiral Stairs

Henri Cartier-Bresson - umbrella

Richard Avedon

avedon

Richard Avedon photographed cultural icons, as well; Marilyn Monroe (again), Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.  He shot his portraits in black and white, capturing “…the essential humanity and vulnerability lurking in such larger-than-life figures”

avedon - martin-luther-king-jr-with-father-and-son-1963

avedon_dovina_with_elephants avedon veruschka-von-lehndorff-by

V

avedon - elizabeth taylor

More notably, Richard Avedon photographed his terminally ill father as Leibovitz photographed her partner, Susan Sontag, as Sontag was dying of cancer.

Avedon_Father

leibovitz - SUSAN SONTAG

Robert Frank

robert-frank

Robert Frank immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in ’47 and started his career as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar.  However, he is perhaps more famous for his 1958 book entitled The Americans.

Robert Frank - the_americans-cover

This project was a product of his ultimate disillusionment with American society’s overemphasis on wealth.  He traveled the country with his family, documenting the tensions between the optimism of the 1950s and the realities of class and racial differences.  Frank’s use of unusual focus, low lighting and cropping made his work the object of much initial criticism.  However, his relationship with many of the artist in the Beat subculture, allowed him to reach a larger audience and, over time, he became an inspiration to other artists, including Annie Leibovitz.

Robert Frank - Subway

Robert Frank - smoking girl

Robert Frank - Cocktail-Party

Robert Frank - Blowing A Kiss Barbara Mullen, Harper's Bazaar, 1958

Here are some of my personal “Leibovitz” favorites:

annie-leibovitz-leo

leibovitz - cindy-crawford

leibovitz - lindsey vonn

leibovitz - Clooney

leibovitz - david burne

Leibovitz - Katy-Perry-Vogue

leibovitz - scarlett

leibovitz - tina fey

leibovitz - whoopi

Leibovitz - Patrick-Stewart-and-Ian-McKellen

And, just for fun, here is a compilation of “Marilyns,” by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Leibovitz (using Lindsey Lohan playing Marilyn), and Richard Avedon.

henri cartier-Bresson - marilyn-monroe-400x400

henri cartier-Bresson - marilyn-monroe tree hugger

leibovitz - lindsay-lohan-marilyn-monroe

Avedon_Wilder_and_Monroe-original

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Leibovitz

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Jessica-Chastain-Gets-Brave-Annie-Leibovitz-Latest-Disney-Dream-Portrait-41619.html

http://www.biography.com/people/annie-leibovitz-9542372

http://www.vogue.com/voguepedia/Annie_Leibovitz

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/10/annie_excerpt200810

http://www.salon.com/2006/11/18/leibovitz_2/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Cartier-Bresson

http://www.biography.com/people/henri-cartier-bresson-9240139?page=2

http://www.biography.com/people/richard-avedon-9193034

http://www.richardavedon.com/#mi=1&pt=0&pi=7&p=-1&a=-1&at=-1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Frank

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100688154