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Annie Leibovitz at Work [Hardcover]

Annie Leibovitz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Oct 2008

The celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz, author of the New York Times bestselling book A Photographer's Life, provides the stories, and technical description, of how some of her most famous images came to be.

Starting in 1974, with her coverage of Nixon's resignation, and culminating with her controversial portraits of Queen Elizabeth II early in 2007, Leibovitz explains what professional photographers do and how they do it. The photographer in this instance is the most highly paid and prolific person in the business. Approximately 90 images are discussed in detail -- the circumstances under which they were taken, with specific technical information (what camera, what settings, what lighting, where the images appeared). The Rolling Stones' tour in 1975, the famous nude session with John Lennon and Yoko Ono hours before Lennon was killed, the American Express and Gap campaigns, Whoopi Goldberg in a bathtub of milk, Demi Moore pregnant and naked on the cover of Vanity Fair, and coverage of the couture collections in Paris with Puff Daddy and Kate Moss are among the subjects of this original and informative work. The photos and stories are arranged chronologically, moving from film to digital. Leibovitz's fans and lovers of great photography will find her stories of how one learns to see -- and then how to photograph -- inspiring.

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Annie Leibovitz at Work + Annie Leibovitz - Life Through a Lens [DVD]
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (23 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224087576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224087575
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Annie Leibovitz is the recipient of many honours, including both first and second place in the American Society of Magazine Editors' recent compilation of the forty top magazine covers of the past forty years. She is renowned for her work in Vanity Fair, Vogue and Rolling Stone. Leibovitz was designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000 and an Officier in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2002. Smithsonian Magazine named her one of the thirty-five Innovators of Our Time in November 2005. Jonathan Cape have published three books of her photographs: Women, with Susan Sontag (1999), American Music (2003) and A Photographer's Life (2006). She lives in New York City.

Product Description


"Undoubtedly one of the world's best photographers. Annie Leibovitz at Work, is a must have collection" (Aesthetica)


"Prepare to be inspired."

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Any fan of Annie Leibovitz will want to read and cherish this book. The words and images will mean the most to young people dreaming of having a career in photography who wonder about how she got started.

Annie Leibovitz's photography has surrounded and informed us for so long that it has become part of the landscape, perspectives that we employ and too often take for granted. In Annie Leibovitz at Work, she takes us behind the camera a little to understand her motivations, her family, her career, her assignments, her purposes, and how those iconic images were constructed. I enjoyed the book very much but I found that it had two flaws that bothered me: She is a usually little too coy in holding back details that her disclosures make enticing. The page sizes are too small to properly display the images. The print quality is excellent, but you can only do so much when images intended for full magazine pages or portraits are displayed in 3 inch by 5 inch formats. A minor weakness is that some of the images she talks about aren't portrayed (presumably either a space or a permissions problem, but it is disappointing whenever it happens).

Here are some of the poignant stories in the book:

1. Taking the last portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono before John was murdered.

2. Photographing the Rolling Stones on tour while trying to keep a nervous independence from the parties and the crush of fans at the end of a concert.

3. John Cleese nearly suffocating to get the picture of pretending to be a bat hanging from a tree.

4. Capturing Al Sharpton at the beauty parlor.

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger changing his image through her photographs.

6. The story behind the pregnant cover of Demi Moore.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight into a photographers mind 19 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is less about the technical aspects of photography but the personal experiences and relationships she has made throughout her career. Very insightful and interesting with loads of great prints.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book- intresting facts 21 Dec 2008
Really intresting and inspiring information on her recent and not so recent work.

Definatly worth buying if you like her work- i bought it as im a photography student. Its useful to know how great photographers of today started out and what they have achieved.

Not a large variety of pictures in this book, it is more written therefore if you want bright and bold pictures buy her other book which is also really invaluble and inspiring
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i loved every word! 14 Aug 2009
By R. Gray
I lapped this book up, every word and image. Annie Leibovitz writes so beautifully because she is writing from her heart about doing what she loves and she does it so beautifully. Do read this book if you are looking to be inspired.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read 1 Aug 2009
i could not put this book down if photography your thing then this is a must read.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A busy photographer 26 Jun 2010
By Cake
This is basically a bunch of anecdotes. But there is something not right in the tone of the writing that had me suspicious early on. It seemed to me almost dumbed down and far too often contained the kind of 'off the cuff' generalisations that photographers come up with in the flow of conversation that never makes it onto the page when thought about further. Such as, 'A lot of my work is post-decisive moment... it would be nice to be more spontaneous'. Since she's a declared fan of Cartier-Bresson it's hard to explain why she'd make the common mistake of suggesting that the 'decisive moment' is an issue of spontaneity - it's not, it's a formal concern and is often only discovered precisely at the edit stage.

Reminiscing on her student days she argues, 'You can be a little sloppy with a wide-angle lens. The 55 mm made me very aware of what I was puttng in the frame. It was good discipline in learning how to see and compose.' This is laughable. Check out Wingorand and Meyerowitz and the great reportage photographers, someone who pulls off the feat of capturing a great photo with a wide angle doesn't do so being a little bit sloppy, the job is so much harder and more demanding than using a longer focal length. Longer lenses simplify the task.

Well, Liebovitz is a busy, commercical photographer and it turns out the book was in fact ghostwritten by Sharon Delano. (Find the note just inside the back cover.) More issues suggest to me Liebovitz didn't even find time to proof-read the text. If she had she might have questioned the oddity of images being ommitted that are being written about in some detail. Thing is she strkes me as a profoundly intriguing personality and it's a great shame that little or none of that has made it into this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book we've all waited for.... 21 Jan 2009
...I am a photographer and what I love about this book is the way Annie L answers all of the questions one might put to her if the opportunity ever arose.
She is obviously very familiar with a huge swathe of works of other photographers and she makes no secret of her search for inspiration from photographers she admires when she approaches her subjects. This book reminds us to look at great works and remember how young photography is as a medium, that ground was still being broken as recently as the 90's.
It is not the definitive picture book - but it is beautifully printed and the reproductions are small but top, top quality. It should be a companion to her two picture books - not a replacement.
Her searing honesty - "my work is 90% moving furniture" - and her total acceptance that a photograph can only be a moment in a life of a person and not capable of 'capturing' that person is consoling to those of us who have been working in portraiture, often with the impossible brief to 'define' someone with one image.
Her biggest gift to young photographers is her attitude to equipment and in the very early part of the book she talks about having to learn to live with her camera - "...there aren't going to be any pictures without it." Cameras are just tools of the trade and she's not a brand slave - it's just about the right tool for the job, that's so refreshing.
I couldn't put this book down once I picked it up.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for anyone into photography.
A quality book, with well written dialogue to accompany great images, a must for any up and coming photographer who wants to learn from the best.
Published 12 months ago by NigelP
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
this book was a present for my son who is interested in photography. he was very pleased with the book,and has enjoyed reading Annies hints for a great photo.
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by Laino
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for a photography enthusiast
I love photography and I love photo books. This however is not a photo book. Sure it has a lot of photos, but ultimately it is almost a conversation about photography with Annie... Read more
Published on 24 May 2011 by Dex
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Photography, Great Book
Just few words to describe "at Work": it's Amazing.
Annie Leibovitz describes clearly and deeply her job and the experiences which marked her during her Great career. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2010 by Luca
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
I recently purchased this book for one of my colleague's birthday who happens to be a fashion photographer. Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2010 by Sasha
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Excelent
For all the fan of Annie Leibovitz (and photography lovers) this book is a "must have".
Here in Portugal, the book cost, at least two times the Amazon's price.
Published on 11 May 2010 by Joćo Costa
4.0 out of 5 stars The different one
When I ordered it I was actually expecting to see something different than I saw when it arrived. I might be the only one that wasn`t fully happy about the way book was organized,... Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2009 by Axe Photographer
5.0 out of 5 stars very satisfied
It's a great book dedicated to the most famous she photographer now at work.
The layout, the paper, the quality or reproduction, the very interesting texts, make this book... Read more
Published on 3 May 2009 by Elio Lello Piazza
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great read, find out how one of the world`s greatest photographers does it time and time again, top pictures and bang up to date.
Published on 27 April 2009 by Dave W
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