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ANNIE LEIBOVITZ
[ b: 1949] American Portrait Photographer
When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I'd like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph. - Annie Leibovitz

Sometimes I enjoy just photographing the surface because I think it can be as revealing as going to the heart of the matter. - Annie Leibovitz - in an interview by David Van Biema, Life April 1994

A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people. - Annie Leibovitz

My early childhood equipped me really well for my portrait work: The quick encounter, where you are not going to know the subject for very long. These days I am much more comfortable with the fifteen minute relationship, than I am with a life long relationship. - Annie Leibovitz

I don't try to overintellectualize my concepts of people. In fact, the ideas I have, if you talk about them, they seem extremely corny and it's only in their execution that people can enjoy them...It's something I've learned to trust: The stupider it is, the better it looks. - Annie Leibovitz, Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography by Gretchen Garner , ISBN: 0801871670
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...“Rolling Stone” started giving me assignments right away, which made me worry about having crossed over to the other side. I was selling pictures. The photographers I admired were not photographers who worked for magazines on assignment, but people who chose what they did from the inside – or so it seemed at the time. And I wondered if I was betraying something. And then I found out about what it meant to be published, especially what it was to have a photograph on the cover of a magazine, which is what happened a couple of months later. I can never forget the sensation of being at a newsstand and seeing for the first time my photograph transformed into the “Rolling Stone” cover. It was a lot different from having a photograph floating around in the wash, or pinned on a bulletin board at school. - Annie Leibovitz - Annie Leibovitz… from a conversation with Ingrid Sischy. Source: „Annie Leibovitz Photographs 1970 – 1990” Harper Perennial (A Division of HarperCollins Publishers) NewYork 1992; ISBN 0-06-092346-6 (pbk.); Library of Congress Library Card Number 90-56384, p. 8

...When I started to be published I thought about Margaret Bourke-White and the whole journalistic approach to things. I believed I was supposed to catch life going by me – that I wasn’t to alter it or tamper with it – that I was just to watch what was going on and report it as best I could. This shoot with John was different. I got involved, and I realized that you can’t help but be touched by what goes on in front of you. 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. - Annie Leibovitz - Annie Leibovitz… from a conversation with Ingrid Sischy. Source: „Annie Leibovitz Photographs 1970 – 1990” Harper Perennial (A Division of HarperCollins Publishers) NewYork 1992; ISBN 0-06-092346-6 (pbk.); Library of Congress Library Card Number 90-56384, p. 9

…Photography’s like this baby that needs to be fed all the time. It’s always hungry. It needs to be read to, taken care of. I had to nourish my work with different approaches. One of the reasons that I went to Vanity Fair was that I knew I would have a broader range of subjects – writers, dancers, artists and musicians of all kinds. And I wanted to learn about glamour. I admire the work of photographers like Beaton, Penn, and Avedon, as much as I respected grittier photographers such as Robert Frank. But in the same way that I’d had to find my own way of reportage, I had to find my own form of glamour. - Annie Leibovitz - Annie Leibovitz… from a conversation with Ingrid Sischy. Source: „Annie Leibovitz Photographs 1970 – 1990” Harper Perennial (A Division of HarperCollins Publishers) NewYork 1992; ISBN 0-06-092346-6 (pbk.); Library of Congress Library Card Number 90-56384, p. 10

Do you think your subjects relax more because you’re a woman ?
I just always think of myself as a photographer. I never separated those things. I never thought, well, I’m a woman and that’s why I’m getting these images as opposed to other images, if that’s what you’re asking. Are you saying that there’s a woman’s point of view in my pictures ?
Well, yes, I am suggesting that about your point of view. But I’m also thinking about what happens to an individual psychologically when he or she is in front of the camera. One of the most obvious things to grab onto in that complex experience is the person who is taking your picture.
I think that in the beginning, particularly, when I was younger, I didn’t seem threatening, and that was useful. I like to think that I let the subject be whoever they want to be, and maybe the fact that I’m a woman makes that process easier. I don’t know. Perhaps I empathize with the subjects more than a male photographer might, and so when I direct a sitting ideas may come more often from the people I’m photographing. For example, with the Sting picture, people ask, “How did you get Sting to undress ?”. Well, I didn’t. We were in the desert, out in the middle of nowhere; it was very hot and stark. And he said he wanted to take his clothes off. It felt very natural to him.
- Annie Leibovitz - Annie Leibovitz… from a conversation with Ingrid Sischy. Source: „Annie Leibovitz Photographs 1970 – 1990” Harper Perennial (A Division of HarperCollins Publishers) NewYork 1992; ISBN 0-06-092346-6 (pbk.); Library of Congress Library Card Number 90-56384, p. 11

Do you ever think about doing a self-portrait ?
(…) I think self-portraits are very difficult. I’ve always seen mine as straightforward, very stripped down, hair pulled back. No shirt. Whatever light happened to be available. I’d want it to be very graphic – about darkness and light. No one else should be there, but I’m scared to do it by myself. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. The whole idea of a self-portrait is strange. I’m so strongly linked to how I see through the camera that to get to the other side of it would be difficult. It would be as if I were taking a photograph in the dark.
- Annie Leibovitz - Annie Leibovitz… from a conversation with Ingrid Sischy. Source: „Annie Leibovitz Photographs 1970 – 1990” Harper Perennial (A Division of HarperCollins Publishers) NewYork 1992; ISBN 0-06-092346-6 (pbk.); Library of Congress Library Card Number 90-56384, p. 12

The first thing I did with my very first camera was climb Mt. Fuji. Climbing Mt. Fuji is a lesson in determination and moderation. It would be fair to ask if I took the moderation part to heart. But it certainly was a lesson in respecting your camera. If I was going to live with this thing, I was going to have to think about what that meant. There were not going to be any pictures without it. - Annie Leibovitz
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You don’t have to sort of enhance reality. There is nothing stranger than truth. - Annie Leibovitz

If it makes you cry, it goes in the show. - Annie Leibovitz

Computer photography won't be photography as we know it. I think photography will always be chemical. - Annie Leibovitz

One doesn't stop seeing. One doesn't stop framing. It doesn't turn off and turn on. It's on all the time. - Annie Leibovitz

I’ve always cared more about taking pictures than about the art market. - Annie Leibovitz - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/76af3c7a-dbf2-11df-af09-00144feabdc0.html

I've said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is to stay close to home. Start with your friends and family, the people who will put up with you. Discover what it means to be close to your work, to be intimate with a subject. Measure the difference between that and working with someone you don't know as much about. Of course there are many good photographs that have nothing to do with staying close to home, and I guess what I'm really saying is that you should take pictures of something that has meaning for you... - Annie Leibovitz - On the question: What advise do you have for a young photographer who is just starting out? From the book Annie Leibovitz At Work - page 212

All dancers are, by and large, a photographer's dream. They communicate with their bodies and they are trained to be completely responsive to a collaborative situtation.. - Annie Leibovitz - From the book Annie Leibovitz At Work - page 87

One doesn't stop seeing. One doesn't stop framing. It doesn't turn off and turn on. It's on all the time. - Annie Leibovitz

I don't have a single favorite photograph. What means most to me is the body of my work. The accumulation of photographs over the years. - Annie Leibovitz - On the question: "What is your favorite photograph?"

A very subtle difference can make the picture or not. - Annie Leibovitz

Those who want to be serious photographers, you're really going to have to edit your work. You're going to have to understand what you're doing. You're going to have to not just shoot, shoot, shoot. To stop and look at your work is the most important thing you can do. - Annie Leibovitz

The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much. - Annie Leibovitz

The cover is not a photograph. I mean you might as well be doing advertising; it really is designed to sell the magazine. - Annie Leibovitz - 50 Contemporary Photographers You Should Know by Florian Heine, Brad Finger

Somewhere in the raw material was the nucleus of what the picture would become. It could be simple. There's a case to be made that the simpler the idea the better. - Annie Leibovitz - 50 Contemporary Photographers You Should Know by Florian Heine, Brad Finger

I’m pretty used to people not liking having their picture taken. I mean, if you do like to have your picture taken, I worry about you. - Annie Leibovitz

If I didn’t have my camera to remind me constantly, I am here to do this, I would eventually have slipped away, I think. I would have forgotten my reason to exist. - Annie Leibovitz

...I gave up on being a journalist—I thought having a point of view was more important than being objective. - Annie Leibovitz

There is a myth that the portrait photographer is supposed to make the subject relax, and that’s the real person. But I’m interested in whatever is going on. And I’m not that comfortable myself. - Annie Leibovitz

People buy ideas, they don’t buy photographs. - Annie Leibovitz

I still need the camera because it is the only reason anyone is talking to me. - Annie Leibovitz

In this day and age of things moving so, so fast, we still long for things to stop, and we as a society love the still image. - Annie Leibovitz

You think you know something, and you realize you haven’t really been looking that close yet. - Annie Leibovitz

It’s like sitting in a room with ghosts. You go through your pictures and you think about what that shoot was like, who that person was, what that meant, that time in your own life. - Annie Leibovitz

I don’t mind doing something obvious. I’m not looking for the ultimate image, the ultimate essence of someone. The chances of that happening are far and few between. - Annie Leibovitz

Very much like everyone else, I’m using what’s out there now and learning how to use it. Like everyone else, I sometimes go too far... There’s a little too much [digital] hanky panky with this stuff and I want to try to bring it back. - Annie Leibovitz

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