Tag Archives: Annie Leibovitz

Tom Ford book spotlights stratospheric fashion career

NEW YORK (Fotophile.com) — It’s not often a fashion designer at the top of his game walks away from it all. But then, it’s not often the industry finds a Tom Ford, either.

“Tom Ford”

Since announcing last November that he would leave his position as creative director of Gucci Group and designer for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, Ford took the industry by surprise. Now, Rizzoli has published an oversized volume highlighting the illustrious designer’s decade-long career set for release 1 November 2004.

The book features more than 300 photographs providing evidence of Ford’s stratospheric career as a cutting-edge designer and sharp businessman. In his decade-long role at the helm of Gucci Group, the company increased sales from $230 million in 1994 to nearly $3 billion in 2003 and becoming the world’s leading luxury brand, while setting fashion trends as well.

Photos are provided by some of the world’s top image-makers, including Richard AvedonMario TestinoHelmut Newton,Annie LeibovitzHerb Ritts and Terry Richardson, among others. The deluxe edition comes slipcased in white cabra leather and retails for $350; a black, cloth-bound version (pictured) runs $125.

The book boasts contributions from top editors Greydon Carter of Vanity Fair, Anna Wintour of Vogue and Bridget Foley of W.

Ford, a native of Austin, Texas, who was raised in Santa Fe, N.M., has won numerous design awards, including four from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and five VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards.

Leibovitz’s perspective infuses ‘American Music’

The White Stripes by Annie Leibovitz
The White Stripes by Annie Leibovitz

By STEVE HOPSON Contributing Editor

'Willie Nelson, Luck Ranch, Spicewood, Texas' (2001) by Annie Leibovitz, B&W fiber print, 26 x 32 inches (framed), Copyright © Annie Leibovitz, Courtesy of Experience Music Project

AUSTIN, Texas (Fotophile.com) — The death of Richard Avedon last year made Annie Leibovitz, arguably, America’s most famous living photographer. Best remembered for her 13 years of work for Rolling Stone, Leibovitz has spent more than the last two decades photographing celebrities for Vanity Fair. Leibovitz’s signature portrait style is marked by a collaboration between the photographer and the subject to visibly reveal an aspect of the subject’s personality. Through the publication of her photo books, “Women” and “Olympic Portraits,” and her exhibits at the National Portrait Gallery and other museums, Leibovitz has established her reputation as an artist.

The Austin Museum of Art exhibit, “American Music” — based on Leibovitz’s book of the same name — takes the photographer full circle back to her early work with musicians while combining her eye for revealing the personality of celebrities with her skills as an artist. Leibovitz acknowledges the cyclical nature of the exhibit’s topic by writing of her “desire to return to my original subject, look at it with a mature eye and bring my experience to make it a real American Tapestry.” The exhibit does mark a maturity of vision, displaying her advanced portraiture skills. Only one photo, of the White Stripes costumed as circus performers doing a knife-throwing act, harkens back to her elaborately staged Rolling Stone covers. Curiously, the museum curators selected this photo as the exhibit’s lobby centerpiece.

'B.B. King, Club Ebony, Indianola, Mississippi' (2000) by Annie Leibovitz, B&W fiber print, 26 x 32 inches (framed), Copyright © Annie Leibovitz, Courtesy of Experience Music Project

The 68 large-scale photos in the exhibit were all completed between 1999 and 2003. Organized thematically by musical genre, the show explores the major American musical forms: blues, country, rock and rap. Rockers Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt share a wall, as do blues favorites R.L. Burnside, B.B. King and Pinetop Perkins. The display also matches rappers P. Diddy, Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige together, while Ralph Stanley, Norah Jones, Beck and Pete Seeger each stand individually on their own walls. Speaking about another solo iconic figure and photograph, Iggy Pop, Leibovitz comments on the cell-phone accessible audio accompaniment, that his body is a road map to rock and roll. Leibovitz displays the roadmap with two photos of Iggy as a shirtless body, scars and all.

As expected of a celebrated master of photography, the photographs and prints on display are exquisite. In the photo, “North Mississippi All Stars,” the clarity of the 3-by-4 foot C-print reveals the 5 o’clock beard stubble and blemishes on the guitarist’s face. Leibovitz’s lighting also allows the viewer to look into the sound holes of the acoustic guitar to see the Gibson factory serial number. In another large print, the band, The Roots, stands on a street corner in Philadelphia. Leibovitz’s camera captures all the faces in the crowd, the detail in the T-shirts of the musicians and the facades of the buildings. Unfortunately marring the beauty of some of the prints, framing malfunctions cause some artworks to appear visibly wrinkled behind their mattes.

Although the display focuses on creators of music, Leibovitz does not overlook the role of musical places. The landscape of the music is seen in Leibovitz’s photos of “Preservation Hall, New Orleans,” “Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, Mississippi” and “Highway 61.” About Preservation Hall, Leibovitz stated that the hall looked better without the band in the photo. Leibovitz’s photo of Highway 61, made famous in Bob Dylan’s verse, was shot through the windshield of a car with a radio antenna clearly visible in one side of the frame.

In a nod toward Austin, the city that officially refers to itself as, “The Live Music Capital of the World,” a focus of the exhibit is on musicians associated with the town: Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, the Dixie Chicks and ‘Pavarotti of the Plains,’ local yodeler Don Walser. Although Leibovitz traveled to Nashville to photograph Lucinda Williams at her home there, the portrait in the show was shot in Austin during the South by Southwest Music Festival.

American Music shows America’s leading portrait artist in her prime and working on her favorite subject.

Leibovitz, Edgerton set auction records

LONDON (Fotophile.com) — Photographs by Annie Leibovitz and Harold Edgerton set auction records for the individual artists at a Christie’s King Street sale on 18 May 2005.

Liebovitz’s 1986 photograph of New York pop artist Keith Haring sold for £31,200 ($57,190) to a private American buyer for roughly four times its pre-sale estimate, and Harold Edgerton’s 1938 stroboscopic image, “Bobby Jones’s Golf Swing,” fetched £16,800 ($30,794). Both images were from the collection of James Danziger, former picture editor for The London Sunday Times Magazine and Vanity Fair features editor.

The top three sale prices at Christie’s main photography auction were: Gustave Le Gray‘s “The Breaking Wave, Sète” (1857) to a private American buyer for £102,000 ($186,966); Helmut Newton‘s “Elsa Peretti in Halston ‘Bunny Girl’ costume, New York” (1975) for £50,400 ($92,383) to a private European bidder; and “Dovima with Elephants, Evening dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris” (1955) by Richard Avedon for £49,200 ($90,184).

“We were delighted with the very strong competitive bidding on these two tightly edited sales which included many rarities and fetched a combined total of just under £1.5 million,” said Philippe Garner, international specialist head of photographs for Christie’s. “We were particularly gratified to witness the participation of many new private bidders from Europe and America.”

Newton also held the fifth and seventh sales positions. Private buyers paid £45,600 ($83,585) for “Sie Kommen (Naked), French Vogue, Paris” (1981) and £38,400 ($70,387) for “Paloma Picasso wearing dress by Karl Lagerfeld, Saint-Tropez, 5 July 1973.”

William Henry Fox Talbot prints took the fourth and sixth spots. “A Bush of Hydrangea in Flower” (c. 1842) sold for £45,600 ($83,585) and “Oak Tree in Winter” (probably 1842/43) fetched £38,400 ($70,387).

From the Danziger collection, private American buyers bought Andy Warhol‘s “Mick Jagger, 1980s” Polaroid for £11,400 ($20,896), about twice its pre-sale estimate, and a 1982 Polaroid of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who is the subject of a major retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum.

Photographs with top pre-sale estimates included Flip Schulke‘s image of Muhammad Ali training underwater, which originally appeared in Life magazine, and a Herb Ritts photograph of Cindy Crawford printed on gold paper, expected to draw between £3,000 and £4,000.

A private American buyer bought the Schulke print for £10,200 ($18,697), approximately 10 times its pre-sale estimate, and a private British bidder paid £12,000 ($21,996) for the Ritts.

The next auction at King Street takes place 14 November.