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on 19 March 2010
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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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.

7. Cindy Sherman wanting to disappear in her portrait.

8. Capturing the war in Sarajevo.

9. The slaughter in Rwanda.

10. Posing OJ during his LA trial.

11. The arrogant photograph of the new White House team in town (December 2001).

12. Philip Johnson and his glass house.

13. Agnes Martin

14. Queen Elizabeth

Of the technical details, I was most interested in her descriptions of how she put together multiple shots to appear as one image.

Here are some of the many iconic images in the book:

Richard Nixon leaving the White House, Washington, D.C., 1974
Hunter S. Thompson and George McGovern, San Francisco, 1972
Tom Wolfe, Florida, 1972
Apollo 17, the last moon shot, Cape Kennedy, Florida, 1972
The Rolling Stones, Philadelphia, 1975

Keith Richards, Toronto, 1977
Mick Jagger, Chicago, 1975
Mick Jagger, Buffalo, New York, 1975
John Lennon, New York City, 1970
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, New York City, December 8, 1980

Tess Gallagher, Syracuse, New York, 1980
Robert Penn Warren, Fairfield, Connecticut, 1980
Bette Midler, New York City, 1979
Meryl Streep, New York City, 1981
The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi), Hollywood, 1979

Steve Martin, Beverly Hills, 1981
Whoopi Goldberg, Berkeley, California 1984
Keith Haring, New York City, 1986
John Cleese, London, 1980
Andrée Putnam, New York City, 1989

William Wegman and Fay Ray, New York City, 1988
Evander Holyfield, New York City, 1992
Willie Shoemaker and Wilt Chamberlain, Malibu, California, 1987
The Reverend Al Sharpton, PrimaDonna Beauty Care Center, Brooklyn, New York, 1988
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Malibu, California, 1988

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sun Valley, Idaho, 1997
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer, Cumberland Island, Georgia, 1990
Mark Morris, Cumberland Island, Georgia, 1990
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Paducah, Kentucky, 1988
Demi Moore, Culver City, California 1991

Cindy Sherman, New York City, 1992
Carl Lewis, Pearland, Texas, 1996
Sarajevo, 1993
Soccer Field, Sarajevo, 1993
Blood on a mission-school wall, Rwanda, 1994

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, Los Angeles, 1995
Patti Smith, New Orleans, 1978
Patti Smith, New York City, 1996
Puff Daddy and Kate Moss, Paris, 1999
Ben Stiller, Paris, 2001

Natalia Vodianova, Stephen Jones, and Christian Lacrois, Paris, 2003
Keira Knightley and Jeff Koons, Goshen, New York, 2005
Kirsten Dunst, Versailles, 2006
Cabinet Room, The White House, Washington, D.C. December 2001
Nicole Kidman, Charleston, East Sussex, England, 1997

Johnny Depp, New York City, 1994
Cate Blanchett, Los Angeles, 2004
Philip Johnson, Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut, 2000
William S. Burroughs, Lawrence, Kansas, 1995
Agnes Martin, Taos, New Mexico, 1999

Marilyn Leibovitz, Clifton Point, New York, 1997
Sarah Cameron Leibovitz, New York City, 2002
Susan Sontag, Paris, 2003
Sharon Stone, Angelica Huston, and Diane Lane, Los Angeles, 2006
Kirsten Dunst, Bruce Willis, and James McAvoy, Los Angeles, 2006

Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, Los Angeles, 2006
Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet, New York City, 2006
Jack Nicholson, Los Angeles, 2006
Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, London, 2007 (4)
Hillary Clinton, New York City, 2003

Take a close look and enjoy!
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on 21 December 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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on 14 August 2009
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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on 21 January 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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on 26 June 2010
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.

As for the photography, the big production shots now look so superficial you feel you've been living on cake instead of healthy food for far too long. And the personal, 'low key' stuff here, that she says she prefers, is of little consequence to anyone but truly ardent fans. I'd argue they'd not see the light of day on their own merit, were it not for those dated-looking splashy celeb shots.

The one redemptive series of images that makes it in here are the eight frames taken at the time of the OJ Simpson trial. Taken of the press and sightseers outside the courthouse and at the murder scene - which she describes as busy as 'Graceland' - the verve and complexity of those shots is of the highest order, they are truly great work. It's revealing that they weren't even used by her magazine editor who typically went for more conventional shots. These are challenging images and something quite special.

This is a book for any editorial or celebrity-fixated photography fans out there, there's very little here to be of interest to anyone else, particularly those carefully collecting books of great contemporary art photographers.
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on 5 February 2009
I bought his book along with a DVD of Annie Leibovitz - Life Through a Lens for my son who is a professional photographer and a great fan of Annies work.
He was delighted with the gifts. Especially having just seen the film at a cinema in London, he was desparate to get a copy. It was purely coincidence that I bought it at the time, he was amazed..good old Amazon!!

Jo Robins
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on 29 June 2010
I recently purchased this book for one of my colleague's birthday who happens to be a fashion photographer. She soon called me and told me how much she loved the book and how she planned on getting it before but never got around to it. Bottom line: it scored rave reviews. Annie Leibovitz is a photography-goddess in human form.
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on 1 August 2009
i could not put this book down if photography your thing then this is a must read.
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on 3 May 2009
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 something a passionate of photography can't do without.
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