Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Just Watched…

…Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens

For 83 minutes I was glued to the screen, watching this photographer grow and mature and develop as a photographer, as I had watched her in real life, without knowing it. The movie takes the viewer through her early years with Rolling Stone and on into her years with Vanity Fair and beyond. Annie Leibovitz has been a risk-taker in her photography and in her life, and it is a treat to watch her images - some famous, some not - as her rich, gravelly voice narrates, talks to her photo subjects and to people working on a book of her work.

We also have a lovely book of Leibovitz photographs on the OVERSIZE shelf:

A Photographer’s Life: 1990 – 2005 (779 LEIBOVITZ). Portraits of well-known figures – Johnny Cash, Nicole Kidman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Keith Richards, Michael Jordan, Joan Didion, R2-D2, Patti Smith, Nelson Mandela, Jack Nicholson, and William Burroughs – appear alongside pictures of Leibovitz’s family and friends, reportage from the siege of Sarajevo in the early Nineties, and landscapes. The pictures form a narrative of a life rich in contrasts and continuities. The photographer has a long relationship that ends with illness and death. She chronicles the celebrations and heartbreaks of her large and robust family. She has children of her own. All the while, she is working, and the public work resonates with the themes of the life. (I believe this is the book that she is working on during the filming of Life Through A Lens.)

If you enjoy this documentary, here are some other documentaries in the Copper Queen Library Collection that may be of interest to you:

American Photography: A Century of Images (DVD 770.973 AMERICAN) The story of the pictures we have taken and where they have taken us. The series traces the profound effect photographs have had on American life - influencing what we buy, how we dress, how we get the news, and in the matters of life and death, medicine, science, and war. Presents the whole range of photography in the United States in the 20th century.

Contacts: The World’s Greatest Photographers Reveal the Secrets Behind their Images (DVD 770.92 CONTACTS) A collection of films that uncover the artistic processes of the greatest contemporary photographers from an original perspective: using images (contact sheets, proofs, prints, or slides) with commentary by the artists.

Edward Steichen (DVD 770.92 STEICHEN) Visits photographer Edward Steichen at the age of 86 at his home in Connecticut. Examines Steichen's work in various genres: fashion, industrial, nature, combat, portrait. Includes interviews and features numerous photographs.

Everything Is Photograph: Profile of Andre Kertesz (DVD 770.92 KERTESZ) Profiles André Kertész, the "father of 35mm photography," filmed in 1978 when he was 84 years old and living in New York. Kertész discusses his life and career and describes the origins of some of his better known works. Shows Kertész at work on the streets of New York. Features numerous photographs.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye (DVD 770.92 CARTIER-BRESSON) This documentary takes a look at the innovative work of master photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who shifts his work from the simple to the astonishingly complex. He has an eye for geometry, and the convoluted aestheticism of architecture.

Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light (DVD 770 RIC) A retrospective look at the life and work of fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon.
What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann (DVD BIO MANN) What Remains returns to follow the creation of Mann's new seminal work: a photo series revolving around various aspects of death and decay. Never one to compromise, Mann reflects on her own personal feelings toward death as she continues to examine the boundaries of contemporary photography. Shown at her home on her family farm in Virginia, she is surrounded by her husband and now-grown children, and her willingness to reveal her artistic process as it unfolds allows the viewer to gain exclusive entrance to her world.

--by Hanje Richards