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Nicole
10-13-2006, 09:30 AM
I like the image - even in colour. Until recently I've never taken much interest in who the photographer is. There are times when I really don't want to know - and there are many photos I've enjoyed viewing without knowing the artist. I've seen this one before and now thanks to Flotsam know who it was. So what if the photographer has to be a jack-of-all-trades running the entire show as some of us do, or has an entire army of people helping, is a nice person or not. Good for Annie to get to where she is and have the opportunity to meet interesting people along the way. I hope she enjoys her work.

Cheryl Jacobs
10-13-2006, 09:32 AM
Lee, precisely my point. That's most of what her work is: commercial stuff directed and selected by someone else. That's why I don't find her work particularly exciting. It sells well and it sells stuff well, but commercial success doesn't equal greatness.

She is what she is, and that's fine. I would find this photo a little boring no matter who took it.

Daniel_OB
10-13-2006, 11:23 AM
Shooting celebs is commercial photography in most cases (or in normal case) and that photographs has very specific purpose, but not for sure art, as many here target when discusing. What to get out of such "actor" is what he is NOT. It is very difficult to make. As Blanski said if it is not Lenon, all is different and looking the photograph we know much more about the person. But it is celeb and his photograph just adds to blur about the personality, and it has to. More about portrait photography you can find here (still revising but in basic it is it):
http://www.leica-r.com/portrait_def.html

www.Leica-R.com

donbga
10-13-2006, 11:40 AM
I find that I am looking at this image in context for which it is used...in an record album jacket. I think it serves its purpose. I think most of you all are making way too big a deal with this image. More than likely it was the art director that chose the image and not AL. There were probably a zillion images to choose from and why this one was chosen is beyond us to know.

lee\c

Though I'm generally not an AL fan, I must say that her new book, "A Photographers Life" is pretty interesting. Or at least parts of it. It's an odd mix of photos, a semi-documentary of her life with Susan Sontag interspersed <sp?> with celebraty portraits, some very good too.

Sort of a best of AL. I wouldn't pay $75 for the book but when it hits the mark down bin I might be tempted.

All in all though as Cheryl said there is a missing spark with many of the portraits. Her photo of Willie Nelson is iconic, and she has mastered the ability to make contempary environmental color portraits. I was also fairly impressed with her group portrait of the Bush Administration. But this also under lines the fact that much of her success is due to access to these personalities. I know there are many pros out there that can make as good as or better photos. I don't regard her as a timeless master and I think that's the way history will catorgarize <sp?> her work.

Bringing this back to Lennon, he was once asked if the Beatles are great musicians. His reply was that they (The Beatles) are adequate but not great musicians. I think the same can be said of AL's work. Adequate but not great. And the same for the Lennon shot in question.

catem
10-13-2006, 02:08 PM
I find that I am looking at this image in context for which it is used...in an record album jacket. I think it serves its purpose. I think most of you all are making way too big a deal with this image. More than likely it was the art director that chose the image and not AL. There were probably a zillion images to choose from and why this one was chosen is beyond us to know.

lee\c

Exactly. Regardless of the kind of photographer you think AL might be, this was never intended to be the world's greatest portrait. It was an album cover. It would've had to fit with text, for starters. It's 'messages' were perhaps more obvious than most (the gitanes). Take it for what it was meant to be.

Like Nicole, I also tend to say 'good for Annie'. There are far too few women who make it big-time financially, and when they do, I've noticed there are always a great many people ready to knock them. More so, it seems, than the lousy men who make it to the top :p :D
Cate

Cheryl Jacobs
10-13-2006, 02:27 PM
Cate, I also wish Annie continued financial success. Doesn't mean I have to think her work is the bees knees. I'm not knocking her as a person; I'm just expressing my views on her work. I am taking it for what it was meant to be.

It's not a gender thing. You'll not find me knocking Diane Arbus' work. You WILL, on the other hand, find me knocking Ansel Adams' portrait work. ;)

- CJ

lee
10-13-2006, 03:06 PM
AL made her mark as a photographer during the Rolling Stone Magazine days. She had lots of special access. Maybe she is still living off those glory days. I dont know but it is a possiblity.

lee\c

catem
10-13-2006, 03:40 PM
I'm not knocking her as a person; I'm just expressing my views on her work.

- CJ
We're all talking about her work, aren't we.

I wasn't aiming my comments at you, particularly, Cheryl, or anyone else individually. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and I may also tend to agree with it.

I have noticed, though, a particular intolerance of 'women at the top'.

There again, I sometimes think I am losing my critical faculties, and seem unduly concerned, compared with other people in these discussions (speaking very generally, and not of this thread only or particularly), with seeing whatever positive there is in other people's work, where there sometimes seems a tendency for people to cry "rubbish". I am more than willing to accept that this may be a fault in me.
Cate

donbga
10-13-2006, 05:00 PM
We're all talking about her work, aren't we.

I wasn't aiming my comments at you, particularly, Cheryl, or anyone else individually. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and I may also tend to agree with it.

I have noticed, though, a particular intolerance of 'women at the top'.

There again, I sometimes think I am losing my critical faculties, and seem unduly concerned, compared with other people in these discussions (speaking very generally, and not of this thread only or particularly), with seeing whatever positive there is in other people's work, where there sometimes seems a tendency for people to cry "rubbish". I am more than willing to accept that this may be a fault in me.
Cate

I think everyone who has posted in this thread should read this article about AL and her new book. It clearly clarifies and supports some of the statements made about Annie.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14964292/site/newsweek/

GraemeMitchell
10-13-2006, 06:31 PM
There again, I sometimes think I am losing my critical faculties, and seem unduly concerned, compared with other people in these discussions (speaking very generally, and not of this thread only or particularly), with seeing whatever positive there is in other people's work, where there sometimes seems a tendency for people to cry "rubbish". I am more than willing to accept that this may be a fault in me.
Cate

Cate, thank you, I was beginning to feel like I was the crazy one until you came along.

When I began shooting I'd see mediocre advertisments, celeb shots, fashion stories, etc, and think I could do so much better. Time passed, I worked, now I see those same kinds of pictures, and think, boy I could have done a lot worse.

And again, I'm not even a particular fan of ALs. I just keep revisiting this b/c I'm amazed at some of the reactionary pretensions about what's what, how celeb portraits are commercial work (it's most often editorial), how it's not art, and so on. I'm not saying this in a passive aggressive tone, and I'm also not trying to say what is or what isn't anything. I don't have a clue. I'm just kind of in surprised at the course of the discussion.

donbga
10-13-2006, 06:38 PM
Cate, thank you, I was beginning to feel like I was the crazy one until you came along.

When I began shooting I'd see mediocre advertisments, celeb shots, fashion stories, etc, and think I could do so much better. Time passed, I worked, now I see those same kinds of pictures, and think, boy I could have done a lot worse.

And again, I'm not even a particular fan of ALs. I just keep revisiting this b/c I'm amazed at some of the reactionary pretensions about what's what, how celeb portraits are commercial work (it's most often editorial), how it's not art, and so on. I'm not saying this in a passive aggressive tone, and I'm also not trying to say what is or what isn't anything. I don't have a clue. I'm just kind of in surprised at the course of the discussion.

Did you read the article I linked to?

GraemeMitchell
10-13-2006, 06:57 PM
Did you read the article I linked to?


I'd read it.

What point of it interests you?

(that Jack Nicholson portriat they mention AL did for Vanity Fair is a riot)

donbga
10-13-2006, 07:26 PM
I'd read it.

What point of it interests you?



ALs comments about her own work tend to concur with some of the comments made in this thread.

I don't think anyone has been harsh in their appraisal or opinions of her work nor has anyone made condesending remarks because of her gender. I do agree that her work is used editorially and not commercially.

Sontag had an influence on her and Liebovitz recognizes her own strengths and weaknesses; her friendship and mentoring of SS helped push her work forward. She has dedicated her adult life to her work. I think much of her early success was due to the fact she was at the right place at the right time and ready to take advantage of the opportunities presented to her.

Never the less I don't think she will be viewed as one of the greats of the medium.

Cheryl Jacobs
10-13-2006, 07:44 PM
AL does both editorial and commercial work. She largely approaches them in the same way, and so I don't worry about nitpicking which is which.

Reactionary pretensions? None here. I don't judge someone's photographic ability based on my own. Her editorial and commercial work is in my opinion better than some and not as good as others. I see no evidence to justify any claims that anyone in this thread is discounting AL's work because of her gender. Being a female people photographer, I certainly am not biased against other female people photographers.

GraemeMitchell
10-13-2006, 08:14 PM
I don't think anyone has been harsh in their appraisal or opinions of her work nor has anyone made condesending remarks because of her gender.

OK, fair enough. Likely I was taking what people were saying in the wrong way.

I have no interest in the topic gender here. I'm not sure why it keeps coming up, as it was only gently touched on to begin with.

Out of curiosity, who's editorial portraiture work do you guys like and could you name a contemporary portrait artist who will be considered a great, in your opinion? Excluding Penn!

I apologize for how off topic this has drifted...

donbga
10-13-2006, 09:54 PM
OK, fair enough. Likely I was taking what people were saying in the wrong way.

I have no interest in the topic gender here. I'm not sure why it keeps coming up, as it was only gently touched on to begin with.

Out of curiosity, who's editorial portraiture work do you guys like and could you name a contemporary portrait artist who will be considered a great, in your opinion? Excluding Penn!

I apologize for how off topic this has drifted...
So why don't you post your question in another thread?

catem
10-14-2006, 11:12 AM
Interesting article, thanks for posting.

In fact, I think it backs up everybody's points ;)

It shows the attitude AL had towards her work (I don't think anyone has disagreed, even when speaking in defense of this pic...) and it also shows that she had insight into the limitations of her work, (which I don't think anyone has said her work didn't contain) which for me tends to speak in her favour.

As for the gender issue, yes the point was indeed gently meant, none too seriously and certainly no offence meant to be given, or taken...My apologies if it came over as otherwise, it was meant as a little wry additional aside rather than a main point related to opinions on this thread. :)

catem
10-14-2006, 01:33 PM
Hope I'm not being controversial, but...

How's this for a coincidence? ...Have just sat down to read today's Guardian Weekend. Anyone here get it? It contains several of AL's celebrity portraits. Just picking some - Jack Nicholson with the golf clubs, Bill Gates at his computer, Mick Jagger in the hotel room, (looking a bit like Rudolf Nureyev), Willy Nelson, Texas 2001, and in a different vein Bill Chelsea and Hilary Clinton 2000. Hmm... I think they're pretty good. :)

David H. Bebbington
10-14-2006, 10:28 PM
It may be interesting to compare and contrast AL with Karsh [of Ottowa], since they have similar positions except for being 50 years apart. I remember being astonished the first time I looked at a large collection of Karsh's pictures - the ones of famous people were great, in some cases iconic (generally he let sitters project their usual public profile and recorded it). whereas the pictures of non-famous people were uniformly terrible!