FOR SUCH A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER, A BETTER VIDEO WOULD HELP...
photo teacher | Illinois, USA | 12/14/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have always been a fan of Annie Leibovitz's work. She is such a talented photographer who shapes her portraits in a unique way. As a high school photography teacher, I was very excited to show my students this video, so that they could be inspired to take an untraditional route with their own portraits. This video however, was less than inspiring. Yes, it was very informative and seemed to chronicle the major events in her life, but the video was so dry that my students weren't the only ones bored to tears. While they did show several of her photographs, the majority of the video showed clips of interviews from random people talking about how great Annie is as a person. I guess I felt that I wanted to hear more about the photographs. And while the video did spend a good amount of time recounting her "controversial" photos of Demi Moore pregnant, there wasn't any real discussion as to why her photos were so innovative. Why was a photograph of Keith Harring, nude and covered in paint, significant? How did that emphasize his character? I wanted my students to see that many of these poses were not random decisions but rather based on some quality about the subject that she wanted to exaggerate or play upon. I wanted my students to see how she came up with her ideas. Instead they listed to Annie Leibovitz recount the glory days of using drugs while touring with the Rolling Stones.
My last complaint would have to be the film quality. For a video made in 1993, I felt like I was watching a bad made-for-tv special that had more of a 1982 vibe. It just seemed very dated.
If you are looking for a video that simply recounts the photographers life then perhaps this may be a good video. It did have a lot of information in that regard. But if you want a video that really highlights her work and goes more in depth about those photographs then perhaps you'll have better luck elsewhere. Hope this helps."
Good documentary of a very talented photographer
Steve F | Atlanta, GA USA | 08/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD presents a look at Annie Leibovitz's career, dividing time between her stint at Rolling Stone and later at Vanity Fair. We also get to see glimpses of her early family life, meet her parents and few relatives, and see early influences. An aspiring artist, Annie Leibovitz quickly becomes taken with the immediacy of results in the field of photography. This leads her to apply for a job at the still vibrant Rolling Stone magazine, and being quickly hired. Various contemporaries such as Jan Wenner, Hunter Thompson and Mick Jagger provide commentary about Annie's time at RS. Jan Wenner speaks of a sometimes tempestous relationship, exacerbated when Leibovitz takes off with the Rolling Stones as the official tour photographer. We get to see a lot of the early work, and what a treat the photos are. If you were a reader of RS at the time you'll remember (however hazily) a lot of these. For myself, growing up in a small town, these defined the 'look' of rock & roll. Ms. Leibovitz's work at Vanity Fair makes up the latter half of the DVD. Introduced by a somewhat condescending Vanity Fair editor as a chance to do more than photograph 'burnt out rock stars' the Vanity Fair years don't get off to promising start. However the story quickly recovers once the focus is back on the photographs. The Demi Moore photo, naked and pregnant, is given a little more attention than necessary, but that's to be expected given the enormous publicity it generated at the time. Leibovitz's work at Vanity Fair is first rate, but can't really compete with the excitement contained in the photo's from the RS years. To her credit Leibovitz is modest about her job at Vanity Fair, expressing her pleasure for being able work with leading contemporary figures. We get to see the work behind the art during this part of the DVD. During a glimpse at her childhood Annie comments on the influence of a snapshot, taken by a stranger, of some of Annie's family members. We see a photograph of the family lined up side by side, by height. Annie comments on the perfect framing, the fact none of the image is cut off. You get a full picture, vertically and horizontally, you get to see all of the people in a simple pose. That pretty much sums up, both stylistcally and metaphorically, the attraction of Annie Leibovitz's work. You see the person in the photograph."