Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Annie Leibovitz

Again I'm out of my crafting routine and not feeling very well. My hands haven't been fit enough to work with clay and the class is not taking place at the moment.

But I've seen the very impressive Annie Leibovitz exhibition in Berlin two weeks ago, showing her famous professional works as well as private snapshots of her family and very personal pictures. I feel a bit ambivalent about the latter because they obviously were not taken for the public eye, yet I did not feel like an intruder when I looked at them and I liked them.

To me the strongest photographs in this exhibition are those of her lover Susan Sontag as well as the war photographs. A picture of the destroyed National Library of Sarajevo would be bitter and a symbol for brutishness in itself, but it is much more expressive with an outstanding intellectual like Susan Sontag sitting amidst the rubble. The glamorous celebrity pictures even appeared a bit vulgar in comparison.

I was moved by the pictures Annie Leibovitz had taken of Susan Sontag during her illness and until her death (and I recommend you to read "Illness as Metaphor", a strong text that she wrote during her first battle with cancer as well as "AIDS and Its Metaphors"). I don't know if these pictures are shown with Susan Sontag's consent, but they are full of respect for her. The greenish picture showing her dead and dressed for her funeral to me shows the state of shock Annie Leibovitz was in at that time and thus is much more a picture of herself than of Susan Sontag.

At the exhibition the BBC documentary "Imagine - Life through a Lens" about Annie Leibovitz was shown and I watched parts of it there. You can watch the trailer above and the film split into one, two, three, four, five, six parts is available on Youtube.

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