Annie Leibovitz at Work

This book was a very pleasant surprise. A book filled with nice photos, and in addition with wonderful text by the photographer to accompany the photos. Annie Leibovitz does magic when it comes to portraits of celebrities, and portraits in general. I was most pleased with the very easy-flowing narrative, where she describes her way to the top. Her text is very intimate.
She does not only tell us about her journey as a photographer. Her text also has loads of information about how professional photographers think and work. It is interesting to see the contrast between taking a snapshot with a camera, and setting up a portrait with a hundred Hollywood legends in it. You start noticing that what you put inside the frame of a 35 mm SLR is the least important thing compare to all the choreography, storytelling, lighting, marketing that goes into taking photos of Hollywood stars.
The book makes you reconsider your perception of photography. Especially if you are an aspiring photographer with ambitions about going pro. I am not because I am too old and because I like photography mainly as a tool to capture the decisive moment (and because I have another job:-). This is where I think I started not liking some aspects of the book so much. When you see a photographer spending days (and tens of assistants) setting up a shot then you start thinking: is this photography? Actually Leibovitz admits some of this in the book pp. 158: “As much as I love pictures that have been set up, and as important as those pictures are to me, I’d rather photograph something that occurs on its own”. This sentence from the book summarizes what I think about this book.
My favorite photo from the book is that of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon on page 120. Also the chapter on group portraits (page 142) is amazing. The photos that I did not like at all are all the ones from Sarajevo (Leibovitz is not a war photographer!) and the O.J. Simpson photos.
The book is highly recommended.