Monday, December 1, 2008

Leibovitz and 35MM

I've been avoiding Annie Leibovitz.

Its not like she lives in my neighborhood and I duck down an aisle when I see her at the grocery store, but I've been avoiding her all the same. She's become so dominant in the pantheon of modern photographers that liking Annie is almost akin to saying your favorite painter is Leonardo Da Vinci, or your favorite band is the Beatles: not nearly obscure enough to sound like you know what you're talking about.

While travelling in Portland over the holiday, I picked up a copy of A Photographer's Life at Powell's and delved into it. Obviously, there's a reason Ms. Leibovitz is such a dominant force in modern photography, so I won't go into a long discussion extolling her virtues. However, there are a few interesting points to make:

1. Amanda and I feel the book was poorly laid-out with regards to gutter-placement. There are a number of images in which the subject is buried in the gutter in a way that negatively impacts the enjoyment of the image. Its not enough to spoil an otherwise great book, but there are a few images that definitely could be better showcased.

2. The book is quite interesting in that is includes both her personal and assignment photography. Ms. Leibovitz mentions that her partner Susan Sontag had chided her to take more pictures outside of her professional obligations, and Amanda felt that this was solid advice to be passed along to me. I seldom shoot "just for fun" anymore, so while we were in a Camera shop I picked up a used Canon EOS 1n to be my 35mm "fun" camera. My new goal is to shoot at least a few frames every day, even if I don't get it developed immediately. 35mm is a much cheaper and more convenient way to accomplish this mission than either my 6x4.5 or 6x7 rigs.

I'll close by posting a shot I really enjoy from a recent shoot I did for AWAA:

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