When its all said and done, Annie Leibovitz will go down in history as one of the greatest visionary of our time. Without question, she would deserve this honour because for years to come we will marvel at her body of work. Her photographs capture the soul, the essence of a person, her subject whether animate or inanimate, their life’s story, happiness, raw and beautiful emotions in one snapshot. Every line, every wrinkle, every story told in snapshots of life as they happen.
Women; New Portraits, her exhibition at Wapping Hydraulics Power Station in London, is one of the most brilliant exhibition I have seen in a long time. In one word, powerful; details and moment, moments that touch the heart, moments that tell the story, moments that take us light years beyond. Her photographs draw you in and hold you, I was truly mesmerised. Whether the subject is Dr Dre or Aung Sun Suu Kyi, there is no denying the power. She captures life in between the lines; wrinkles or calloused hands, the eyes that smile and clothes that speak volumes of the craftsmanship and tells a story of the designer. And in the moments of history; the gloves Abraham Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated. Its raw and open and honest.
Some of my favourite work of hers are often tainted with history’s most harrowing events; the gloves Abraham Lincoln wore the night he was assasinated, John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone was shot mere hours before Lennon was killed, McQueen’s exhibition, and some of my least typically involve celebrity, that Kiera, Tom Ford, Scarlett Johansson cover, was lacking in a narrative and point of view, but on the other hand, the Demi Moore Vanity Fair cover remains to be one of the most powerful works ever, and I still maintain that any editor who replicates that is a hack. She captures the extraordinary in the ordinary, and finds that singular moment in the speed of light, where time stands still and all comes to life even in stillness. Truly marvellous.
If you’re in London you should go and see this exhibition, it is on until the 7th of February. Women; New Portraits; Annie Leibovitz and commissioning partner UBS, Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. Admission is free.