Annie Leibovitz turns 70

Visual brilliance

Annie Leibovitz

“WOMEN: New Portraits” Exhibit by Annie Leibovitz to Launch in the Presidio in March 2016
For decades, I had been mispronouncing the last name of photographer Annie Leibovitz. I can even tell you when I figured it out, in December 2011, watching JEOPARDY! of course. One of the contestants gave the response, “Who is Annie Leibowitz?” with a W rather than a V. It is a common mistake, Alex Trebek explained.

Still, I should have figured it out. I had been looking at her work since the 1970s, when she was first staff photographer at Rolling Stone before she became chief photographer in 1973 at the age of 23. She had a “look”, maybe her choice of lighting, that seemed distinctive to me.

She took lots of pictures of the Rolling Stones when they were on tour. Bette Midler in a bed of roses after she starred in the 1979 film The Rose was iconic. Her most famous magazine cover may have been taken on December 8, 1980, of a nude John Lennon lying next to his clothed wife Yoko Ono, taken hours before his murder.

VF

In 1983, Annie Leibovitz she moved to Vanity Fair. Her most noted photo at that magazine was likely a 1991 cover shot showing this actress Demi Moore nude, holding her pregnant belly. In 2003, the magazine noted that her name had become synonymous with the magazine’s “visual brilliance.” In those twenty years, she shot “104 covers and countless portraits for the magazine. In this 24-page portfolio…, V.F. honors the art of America’s most famous photographer.”

Among her other photographs is the one on Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” album showing the Boss’ rear end. For Vogue’s millennium special issue, she grouped 13 historic supermodels to shoot the gatefold cover.

In 1991 she had her first museum exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, a rare honor for a living photographer.

In 2014 Annie Leibovitz discussed Nine Assignments that Shaped Her Career. “Leibovitz said some of her most important work was a series of photos she took of her apparently abusive partner, essayist Susan Sontag. She said Sontag had extremely high expectations for the photos, which Leibovitz found frustrating. After Sontag died of Myelodysplastic syndrome in 2004, Leibovitz looked back at photos and said she was proud.”

She is teaching photographyonline . In a 2017 issue of Rolling Stone, she looked back on her legendary career.

Anna-Lou “Annie” Leibovitz turns 70 today.

P is for photography of the Civil War

Civil War photography changed war from something remote to something with visceral impact.

civil-war-005Photography of the Civil War has fascinated me for many years. The Wikipedia says: “The American Civil War was the fifth war in history to be photographed Continue reading “P is for photography of the Civil War”

The Lydster, Part 136: Award-winning photography

Stormy.20150530This spring, the local Hannaford supermarket had a contest to determine the best pet photos in a variety of categories. The Daughter decided to submit a couple of our felines, taken on The Wife’s iPad, then emailed to me so that I could print them out.

Frankly, I have no idea how many other participants, if any, there were, but the Daughter won with the picture of Stormy, shown above. She received various pet treats, food, cat litter and the like.

BTW, Stormy, who just turned two, has become much more affectionate to me, sitting on my lap – only when she wants to, because she IS a cat, after all – and rubbing her head on my feet.

midnight.20150530I’ll admit I prefer this photo, if only because it’s SO goofy, rather like Midnight, who’s about a half a year older than Stormy. He has always been affectionate to me, but, for a time, it got to be too much.

Quite often, at 4 a.m., he’d come into our bedroom and start licking my arms, and chewing on the hair on the top of my head and even on my mustache. I would get up and usually write. Then I had to get him down from the file cabinet next to the office desk, lest he jump down on the laptop and accidentally screw up some settings; he’s done it before.

But then he started his routine at 3 a.m., and I can’t function on that little sleep. So I would get up, put him in the basement and go back to bed. This seems to have (mostly) broken him of this annoying habit.

For a time, we thought Midnight was becoming too aggressive towards some strangers – he utterly freaked out at the vet’s office – and wondered how we could even go on vacation for more than a day or two.

We got a new child watcher (FKA babysitter) named Maxine and he was very affectionate towards her. Now, SHE can come in, feed the cats, change the litter box, and give them some love.

May rambling #2: Leterman, and Vivaldi’s Pond

James Taylor interview by Howard Stern on May 12

Mother Teresa.quote
You might want to bookmark this, because it’s updated regularly: Who Is Running for President (and Who’s Not)? Most recently, it’s former New York governor George Pataki, who’s been out of office since 2006.

Obama To Posthumously Award “Harlem Hellfighter” With Medal Of Honor For Heroism on June 2, 2015. That would be Sgt. Henry Johnson, who I wrote about HERE.

On July 28th, 1917: Between 8,000 and 10,000 African-Americans marched against lynching and anti-black violence in a protest known as The Silent Parade.

“Playing the Race Card”: A Transatlantic Perspective.

The Milwaukee Experiment. How to stop mass incarceration.

The Mystery of Screven County by Ken Screven.

From SSRN: Bruce Bartlett on How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.

Does Color Even Exist? “What you see is only what you see.”
Continue reading “May rambling #2: Leterman, and Vivaldi’s Pond”

December Rambling: Affluenza; the folly of Facebook

“Bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed.”

People don’t actually like creativity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Why it’s lousy for the environment and food safety and US sovereignty, not to mention creators’ rights, and why you’ve probably never heard of it.

In this clip, Carl Sagan passionately defends science, with a grave warning.

Secessionists on the ballot.

I mentioned the FOCUS church’s long struggle to feed the hungry. Here’s a print news story and TV story about the cut in food stamps affecting local pantries.

Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty by The United Methodist Church for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding; his response.

Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate; my, when I saw this story on TV I got really ticked off. Will they also accept povertenza as a defense? Didn’t think so.

The former editor-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine believes it is no longer possible to believe much of clinical research published.

I didn’t write about that Duck Dynasty cable TV guy, mostly because of time, but also because I didn’t have a fresh angle. Arthur wrote about him, and about his reluctance to write about the issue at all, and it’s pretty much my position too.

How fashion can be used as camouflage from face-detection technology.

There’s a new film about Walt Disney and the making of the movie Mary Poppins: watch Harlan Ellison on “Saving Mr. Banks”. For another new film, Philomena, read this article from three years ago, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, for background.

This Man Rescued Over 600 Jewish Kids from Nazi Camps. He Doesn’t Know It Yet, But He’s Sitting with Them.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed… And Pioneering Photographer Robert Cornelius Credited With World’s First Selfie, c. 1839.

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness.

Melanie: Reading, Russian, and the Soviet Union.

Sit Still, and Follow the Stick.

Always hated end-of-the-year lists that come out in early December, because the year isn’t over. Still, 45 powerful photos and NPR’s 100 favorite songs and the best and worst media errors and corrections and worst words and phrases and the Jibjab piece
what brought us together.

21st Century Punctuatio​n; this is a non-issue for me. The frontiers of American English usage involve Death Metal English.

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults, and 5 Reasons To Stop Checking Facebook At Work.

Jaquandor: “Bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed.” I agree with that. He also mentioned SamuraiFrog’s situation, linked therein.

Speaking of SF: 50 Shades of Smartass, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, which you should check out, even if you don’t read the others, because now the truly awful stuff is being eviscerated. Or wait until Chapter 8, when the sex stuff starts. Would someone who liked this book please write me and tell me why?

Books About Movies: XEROX FEROX: THE WILD WORLD OF THE HORROR FILM FANZINE by John Szpunar.

The status of Jaquandor’s Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).

The “radio call” of the miraculous Auburn win over Alabama, both a faux one and the real thing.

Another Kennedy Conspiracy Theory, involving a Superman comic book from around the time of JFK’s assassination, with a happy ending.

Don McGregor on Marvel Comics’ First Interracial Kiss.

Now I Know: rabbit show jumping and the history of flatulence humor.

Michael Feinstein talks about the Gershwins and play some of their tunes for an hour.

Tony Isabella’s birthday wish list.

Amy Biancolli has a new blog. She’s a writer for the local newspaper I’ve met once or twice. As she noted in her first post, ” In 2011, my beloved, brilliant husband, Chris, committed suicide. This left me and our three unbelievably spirited, beautiful children with a task ahead of us: to live.” So she’s FSO, Figuring Stuff Out, such as Things. Except she doesn’t say “stuff.”

Of all the noteworthy people who died this month – Ray Price, Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin – the only obit I link to is Harold Camping? OK, here’s one for Price, and for O’Toole.

Food Fight Muppet episode featuring Gordon Ramsey.

Mark Evanier has been blogging for thirty years! I didn’t even have Internet access at work TWENTY years ago.

Unexpected singers: Run Joe by Maya Angelou from the Miss Calypso album. And Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out by Richard Pryor.

Arthur answers my question about Maori representation in New Zealand government and religion and genealogy, among other things.

I wrote: 50 is the new 65, and not in a good way.