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  1. #1
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Discuss a picture by Leibovitz

    This Annie Leibovitz photograph was used on the 12" LP liner on one of Lennon's albums. I am an admirer of Lennon but I was so taken by this photograph that I matted and framed it and it has hung on my wall for more years than I can recall.

    I am not really interested in Leibovitz as a photographer. I am just wondering what others think of this particular picture as a photograph and also as a portrait.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails lennon.jpg  
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  2. #2
    blansky's Avatar
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    I never really cared much for Liebovitz from when I wrote that Ansel Liebovitz parody a couple of years ago. I think she's a photographer who works by committee and one of her shoots has enough "assistants" as if she were shooting a movie.

    As for this picture is doesn't do much for me. My criteria for celebrity photography is, if it was Uncle Bob sitting there would it be a great picture. To me the answer is no.

    What makes the picture is that it is John Lennon. Not much else adds to it.


    Michael
    Last edited by blansky; 10-10-2006 at 11:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #3
    Gay Larson's Avatar
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    I agree with Michael in that this is not an interesting portrait on it's own. It is interesting that John Lennon is sitting in a room that looks like a basement of a not too expensive home. Must have been the early days, he's not even wearing the granny glasses. The lace pillows are a surprise too, makes you wonder if he's in a groupie's bedroom???
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  4. #4
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    As for this picture is doesn't do much for me. My criteria for celebrity photography is, if it was Uncle Bob sitting there would it be a great picture. To me the answer is no.
    That is interesting. I came very close to mentioning that very thing in my original post but I disagree with you. I think that if it was someone's Uncle Bob, it would say a lot about him. If Uncle Bob were gone, I would prefer this photograph as a remembrance of him over something more formal or outside of his personal surroundings.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  5. #5

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    What parody?

  6. #6
    eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    I never really cared much for Liebovitz from when I wrote that Ansel Liebovitz parody a couple of years ago. I think she's a photographer who works by committee and one of her shoots has enough "assistants" as if she were shooting a movie.
    I *knew* some of those assistants! I processed a bunch of her personal film when I was a B&W lab rat. I would be so busy and she'd come (her assistant), and drop film off. Each roll would be different. And each roll had notes on it like "process in rodinol in XX develop for XX time". Crazy stuff. I was doing everything in D76 and Inspection but I had to stop and do her stuff almost one by one.

    If you've been to the Wax Museum in NYC, there's actually a wax figure of her holding her trademark Mamiya RB. No waxies of assistants though.

  7. #7
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    My reaction was a like Michael's.

    I knew a lot of long haired guys who fiddled with guitars in bed wearing blue jeans and a blue "workshirt". (err....I was one myself).

    If it wasn't the "celebrity" it wouldn't be considered much of a photo.

    But perhaps it was mutually beneficial. It demonstrated that Liebovitz had "access" to a celeb in even the most informal settings. And it made many of Lennon's guitar-fiddling fans think: "Hey, this dude's just like me!"

    Had to be a career enhancer for both....

  8. #8
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I quite like this one, as Flotsam said, if this were Uncle Bob it'd be a great reminder of his life... and this is a great reminder of Lennon's life. Looks almost like some makeshift bedroom at a music studio or something. That "business" phone in the back and the cinderblock wall strikes me as his "home away from home". I've mentioned this before about other photos, but I love the feet!

  9. #9

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    Well, I like it. I find it impossible to think about it as being something it isn't though (without John Lennon). Seems an odd way to be thinking about it. It is John Lennon, and catches him in quite an off-beat mood, makes a change from the Lennon-Ono pics, makes him seem very ordinary (well, as ordinary as it is possible for him to seem).

    I can't look at any pictures of John Lennon without feeling sadness - somehow this makes me sadder than most.
    Cate

  10. #10
    bruce terry's Avatar
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    Looks documentary-ish to me, like it probably worked very well within a series (supported the album cover from what you say) but standing alone not an earth-shaker. Maybe it's the album-oriented square format restricting a casual scene, maybe the Great Leibowitz needed to rush off to another celebrity gig, I don't know, to me this is just a straightforward historical record, taken in passing.

    Bruce

    PS- Not that there is anything wrong with square, or taking in passing

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