Womens History Month Honors Photographer Annie Leibovitz

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Womens History Month Honors Photographer Annie Leibovitz

March 2012 marks the celebration of National Women’s History Month in which the theme is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.”

The Smithsonian and the American Museum of Art have chosen to honor Annie Leibovitz, one of the worlds best known living American Photographers.

There are a few incredible women trailblazers who have gone before us in photography, carving the not-so-straight path to following and living our dreams.

I don’t know her personally but in everything I’ve read about her points to a person who is creative, thoughtful and brilliant in all aspects of her life, not just in her photography.  Based on her volumes of amazing work, she would have every right to be pretentious;  but in press conferences or other media events  she is unassuming, genuine and almost humbled by the attention.

I sometimes find the surface interesting. To say that the mark of a good portrait is whether you get them or get the soul – I don’t think this is possible all of the time. -Annie Leibovitz

Her photographs of famous people are world renowned; there are few that also carry some significant historical weight –

This famous portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was taken just hours before his murder in New York.

This photo of Demi Moore on the Cover of Vanity Fair in 1991 set a new bar of socially acceptable beauty – up until this point, posing nude and 8 months pregnant was seen as anything but desirable.  But my how times have changed.

Because she is so famous for her portrait work I didn’t expect that her most recent showing would be sans humans.

Hosting her works from January to May 2012,  the American Art Museum says

Unlike her staged and carefully lit portraits, the photographs in this exhibition were taken simply because (she) was moved by the subject.    Although there are no people in them, the images are in a certain sense ‘portraits’ of subjects that have shaped Leibovitz distinctly American view of her cultural inheritance.  (The images) show her at the height of her powers, unfettered by the demands of her career and pondering how photographs, including her own, shape a narrative of history that informs the present.

History is made up of a lot of inspiring people.  People who have made a difference in the lives of others, just by doing what their heart and soul guides them to do.

When she was first starting out, did she intend to have such a significant impact in the world of photography?  She looked for inspiration from other photographers like Ansel Adams and Julia Margaret Cameron – much like the aspiring top photographers today look to her for that same motivation.

What if – just by following her dreams – she impacts the dreams of others?

She may argue the depth and impact of her influence, and very causally play it off.  Just like any other day in the office.  

But we wanna-be top photographers know better.

Who are the top photographers that inspire you?  And Why?

Until next photo,


All Image credits in this post to Annie Leibovitz. 

The book honoring her current showing “Pilgrimage” is published by Random House and can be purchased from the American Art Museum, or on Amazon.com  by clicking here.