21 October, 2010

Annie Leibovitz's Book

My daughter loaned me Annie Leibovitz at Work. I enjoyed the book and want to share a paragraph from near the end. She wrote:
Annie Leibovitz
When I'm asked about my work, I try to explain that there is no mystery involved. It is work. But things happen all the time that are unexpected, uncontrolled, unexplainable, even magical. The work prepares you for that moment. Suddenly the clouds roll in and the soft light you longed for appears.
Similarly, Henri Cartier-Bresson mentioned (about one of his most famous photos) that he couldn't see the scene when he took the picture. The interviewer remarked, "That was lucky." and HCB replied,
It's always luck. It's luck that matters. You have to be receptive, that's all. 
These reflections give me hope that I have a chance of taking at least some photos that capture the moment. And, at the same time, I'm encouraged to get out there and "be receptive." 

I'm not silly enough to believe that it's only wearing down the shoe leather, but that's necessary.

AL's book was also interesting to me because it fell so closely on the heels of my seeing the Douglas Kirkland exhibition. Like Kirkland, AL is famous for her photos of celebrities. Her early work (much of it for Rolling Stone Magazine) is quite different to Kirkland's. Her photos have more grit and seem to capture the moment with more of the context.

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