I doubt that you’ll be surprised to hear that the vast majority of the books sitting on my shelves at home are collections of photographs. I have books by most of the greatest photographers who ever lived and I find them to be a constant source of inspiration as well as a great help in keeping my feet on the ground. Every time that I need ideas I see what they did and every time I think I’ve done something great I realise that many other people did it before me and often better than me.
One of the biggest sections is the one devoted to Annie Liebovitz. I admire her and I admire her work. I don’t necessarily want to be the kind of photographer that she has become and I definitely don’t want to do the kind of work that she is most famous for but there is a great deal of inspiration there.
For my birthday a few months ago I was given a 2011 copy of her 2008 book “Annie Liebovitz At Work”. It is partly a biography, partly a summary of her professional life and an interesting insight into how she feels about the job that she has done since leaving college. There are also copies of many of her greatest pictures in it – although it’s the words that I want to talk about here.
When I read it a month or so ago I did so immediately after reading Roger Allen’s excellent “The Darkroom Boy 40 Years on Fleet Street” which is a funny and honest look at the life and career of one of the greatest exponents of the newspaper photographer’s craft. (more…)