Monday, February 18, 2013

"Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens"

I found myself relating to so many different aspects of Annie Leibovitz's personal take on photography, as well as what being a photographer has truly come to mean for her over the course of her life. Throughout the entire film, Leibovitz stresses the importance of a photographer's entire life being his or her subject matter, and that when it comes to "capturing" any given person or situation, "a lot can be told from what happens in-between the main moments."

I could not agree more.

That quote, followed by her recognition of how often times something that never seems like it could turn into anything actually turns out to be something--something great--rang incredibly true to me on so many different levels. And as I continued to watch, I noticed an incredible similarity among my methodology of utilizing facial expressions to inspire my subjects and Annie's way of making faces at her subjects, whether it was to purposefully direct them to make a specific face or to simply losen them up and have them relax. Every single time I witnessed this, a huge part of me lit up inside, because I've been known do the exact same thing when shooting. Regardless of the specified "field" of photographic work one gravitates towards, I have always believed there to be a tremendous amount of difference in the outcomes of shoots where there was clear incorporation of humor on the photographer's end to do whatever he or she felt to be necessary in order to get his or her model to exude the particular mood or visual effect the photographer originally had in mind on camera. As was said about Leibovitz, "she makes a difference, in part, because she provokes people."

Another quote that caught my undivided attention was that "there are photographer's out there, but they don't really obsess and annotate their work like Annie does." I could heavily relate to this, as my own reputation for perfectionism and over-analyzation practically mirrors Leibovitz's personal reputation in conjunction with how she has always gone about criticizing her work. It is very comforting knowing that another professional photographer who has "made it" in the majority of the eyes of the public is just as nit-picky and particular about the quality of her work as I am with mine, and that she will not hesitate to remain stubborn until she gets her way, with regards to both the conditions of a photoshoot before its commencement, as well as the expected shots afterwards.

There are too many things in life that are mediocre. The way one feels about his or her artwork should not be one of them.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Duane Michals

Duane Stephen Michals is an artistic prodigy when it comes to the aesthetically daring realm of creative photography. 

A fellow University of Denver alumnus, Michaels went on to continue his studies at the Parsons School of Design in Greenwich Village, New York--though his sole focus at the time was in graphic design. Finding questionable solace in the United States Navy after his incompletion at Parsons, it wasn't until a holiday well-spent in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR)when Michals first discovered his innate passion for photography, the photos of his trip coincidentally comprising his first exhibition of works at the Underground Gallery in 1963. 

Known for his innovative story-telling photographic sequence series with hand-written, descriptive text, Michals' work is a captivating mix of literary and philosophical visual portrayals of his ideas relating to the subjects of death, emotions, gender, and sexuality.     

"No American has the right to impose his private morality on any other American."

"Christ cries when he sees a young woman who has died during an illegal abortion."

"Frederika wanders across the field at dusk looking for the moon. The wandering moon crosses the sky looking for Frederika."