Annie Leibovitz, Bad Photography and Past Glories

If you know anything about photography you’ve probably heard of Annie Leibovitz. She did some great, innovative photography in the late 1970s and early 1980s but I think in recent times Annie Leibovitz has become probably the single most over-rated photographer in the world. The problem is that it appears everyone is scared to mention to the ‘great’ Annie and her PR machine, that her work is now incredibly mediocre.

A few years back I was looking at a spread she had done for Vanity Fair while waiting for a haircut. My hairdresser noticed what I was looking at and asked if I liked it. I told him “No, I’m just gobsmacked at how bad it was.” His response was, “Oh good. We were just talking the other day about how badly Annie Leibovitz had dropped the ball.” Then there was the photoshoot she did of the Queen of England. For someone (Annie) who is meant to have this great intimacy with her subjects, I thought she was rude, unprofessional and plain egotistical. And the photos themselves were not great and had more to do with her team of digital retouchers and assistants than Annie and the camera.

Now Annie has dropped the ball again with another dodgy photoshoot for Vanity Fair. This one is of Barack Obama and his administration. The badly lit, out of focus, oddly coloured and poorly cropped images are online here.

To the day I die I’ll never know everything there is to know about photography. I’m constantly learning and trying to improve. Sure I have won a whole bunch of awards over the last few years but it’s no time to rest on my laurels. Images that would have won awards just a couple of years ago don’t even get a look in now. The standard of true professional photography is incredibly high and improving.

Maybe Annie Leibovitz needs to take a few courses or just check out this great video about humility and the nagging doubts most photographers have on a daily basis.