Annie Leibovitz At Work [BOOK REVIEW]

Annie Leibovitz At Work [BOOK REVIEW]

annie-liebovitz-at-work.jpgLooking for a Christmas gift for that photographer in your life? Or maybe a little something for yourself? Perhaps this book Annie Leibovitz at Work will fit the bill. Linda (one of our great forum admins) reviews it here.

Not your usual collection of photographic images, this is more than just a picture book. In it Leibovitz takes you through life as a photographer, what it means to her and the background of some of her famous, and some not so famous, photographs.

It can be fascinating to see one of her shots and read her descriptions of how it came to be: what went through her mind and why she decided to shoot it the way she did. We get to enter the mind of a great portrait photographer. Little bits of information sprinkled throughout the book, the importance of environment, how there is more latitude with digital color than film color (greens photograph too dark without appropriate light on film), the importance of natural light. Not too much technical information here. If you want to know camera settings and lighting set-ups, this will not satisfy you. But she does devote some time to explaining her equipment. She often uses just a single strobe and umbrella to help balance natural light (shades of Strobist!) and is happy with the move to digital, because of the added information it gives to her image. Being tethered to computers leaves her cold; she’s definitely more interested in the creative side.


She starts the book by discussing her early years, what she learned about photography at the San Francisco Art Institute (emphasis on composing and framing, no cropping allowed) and how she started work at a new magazine called Rolling Stone (she wasn’t interested in rock and roll, just photography). She was heavily influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank.

A few amusing asides (she was denied an American Express card for years until fast tracked her to one when she shot their famous ads) plus advice to those just starting out (take pictures of something that has meaning to you) add to the interest.

Even though Leibovitz has become a “celebrity” photographer for many people, understanding her thoughts and processes are valuable to any photographer, beginner or accomplished, amateur or professional. A good read for a cold winter evening or when you need a little inspiration.

Get Annie Leibovitz at Work at Amazon for $24 (40% discount)

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Thomas Churchwell January 15, 2009 10:17 am

    I love her DVD's and now will get her book

  • Odyn November 24, 2008 03:00 am

    Thanks for the buying tip. Ordered.

  • evan johnson November 23, 2008 09:32 pm

    Great idea, I think this would make a nice gift.

    I should pick one up for myself too, haven't done enough photography reading lately.


    - Evan

  • David November 22, 2008 05:26 am

    Just received the book this week as well. Haven't put it down since opening the amazon package. Great read for all aspiring photographers.

  • Subhanjan Sengupta November 22, 2008 04:55 am

    I have been thinking for sometime whether I should be having a blog or not. But now I have finally decided to have a blog. The name of my blog is - My Third Eye. In recent times I have discovered a genuine fondness for photography. Capturing the world and its people in still images is a very difficult task. But right now I am trying. I am serious about this hobby. And I will carry on with it for years to come.

    In my new blog I have posted a few pictures that I have taken in recent times. There are four categories. There is also another category which has my sketches. The URL is:

    I will be glad if you pay a visit to it and post your thoughts. I hope others will pour their thoughts in soon. You can even vote in the voting machine at the bottom of my blog. You may even be my follower if you want to. By clicking the 'Follow this blog' link on the top left of this page, you may add yourself to the list of my followers. I will be extremely glad.

  • fromBrandon November 22, 2008 02:09 am

    Nice review, thanks. I've loved all of Anne's work that I've seen, and this book seems like a fantastic read.

  • Jan November 22, 2008 01:51 am

    Nice review. But I guess she is called Annie Leibovitz.