Inspiration: Annie Leibovitz
I’m starting off a new series of posts to detail where I like to draw my inspiration from. It’s more for me to flush out in writing as a reminder to myself that I need to constantly stay inspired and motivated in my work. And hopefully, it’ll serve as a launching point for you, the reader, as well, to be inspired, to be better, to try harder at whatever it is you do. Whether you’re a carpenter or a professional businessman, it’s always good for the soul to see someone do something EXCELLENT with their talents. As a wedding photographer, I like drawing my inspiration from any people interaction or form of media that gives me the chance to observe the skillful artistry of a craftsman; whether they’re chefs, painters, car reviewers, boot makers, or whatever!
Anyway, with that giant intro out of the way, let me introduce to you one of my favorite photographers of all time: Annie Leibovitz. Now, she is a fashion/celebrity portrait photographer from Connecticut who has had her iconic photos propagated by large publications such as Rolling Stone (their original photographer), Vanity Fair, and Vogue. She has been celebrated as a cultural and national icon having photographed people like: Yoko Ono, David Cassidy, Queen Elizabeth II, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, The Obama Family, and on and on and on. But what I find amazing about her, is that her résumé was not simply forged on her par talent, connections, and strategic networks, but it was built by her true mastery of the involving photographic process.
By far, one of the most remarkable things about her work is that she takes the time to include the entire scene in order to give context to the subject. Her incredible blending of ambient and key lights really casts a uniquely surreal quality to all of her photos. I find myself easily getting lost (in a good way) in all the little details.
It’s on location. It’s full of drama. It’s full of feeling. They’re the type of photos that make you look twice. I also believe a ton of that “x-factor” quality is derived from her well-known bedside manner. She has a way of putting her subjects at ease and seeing them eye-to-eye, while also exuding confidence and control (refer to her behind-the-scenes videos for reference).
If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly encourage you to pick up the best documentary on her life out right now, created by her sister Barbara. Below is a trailer for the film.