Annie Leibovitz at work
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Annie Leibovitz at work

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  2,139 ratings  ·  163 reviews
The celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz, author of the New York Times bestselling book A Photographer's Life, provides the stories, and technical description, of how some of her most famous images came to be.





Starting in 1974, with her coverage of Nixon's resignation, and culminating with her controversial portraits of Queen Elizabeth II early in 2007, Leibovitz explain...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published 2008 by Jonathan Cape
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Jessi Bishop-Royse
She is clearly a genius. She has gotten some amazing shots- shots that only happened because she was in the right place at the right time (I'm thinking of that photo of Marine One leaving the White House with Richard Nixon in it). Of course, she had incredible access to get some of these shots... seriously, on tour with the Rolling Stones? I would hope anyone could get some great shots.

That said, she works in a completely different realm. She talks towards the end of the book about how it took...more
Danny
I really enjoyed this book, which includes some of her photographs, but also some essays which read like short conversations. Something she might have said over coffee. Plus there are some fun celebrity anecdotes, and a lot of the thought process, and other processes, behind her pictures. I recommend it.

A quote:

"Where did 'Smile for the camera' come from? It's a tic. A way of directing attention to the camera. 'Look at the birdie.' The smile is a component of family pictures. Mothers don't want...more
Gail
Photographer or not, I think there's something for everyone in this book of Annie's. Beautiful, iconic imagery matched with Annie's voice about how and why she did what she did on each shoot.

I find it reassuring to know that even after her decades' worth of experience, Annie's shoot with the Queen of England was incredibly nerve-wrecking. Prove that even someone you think might have mastered every situation still has a creative challenge now and then that's more difficult than most.

I'm glad tha...more
Macgurrl
I was expecting a book of photographs but ended up with so much more. Annie takes us through the 70's and her work with "Rolling Stone Magazine" and her infamous covers, including how she was able to get Bette Midler to lie in a bed of roses and have Whoopi Goldberg soak in a bathtub of milk. She takes us through to the days of Watergate and Nixon and all the way to the present day and how she took her photo of now, President Barack Obama. More than anything else it is a history book. It is a mu...more
Steven Peterson
This is a terrific volume. It represents a series of her photos, well illustrating her art, with brief essays going along with the photos.

I was keen to see the Rolling Stones in their 1975 concert tour--and saw them twice in Buffalo (once indoors and once outdoors). What a set of events! And Leibovitz was the official tour photographer. So her photos of the tour (including a couple from Buffalo) gave this a more personal sense.

Anyhow, this is a fine work. If you are interested in the art and cr...more
Wink
THE GREAT PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER TELLS THE STORIES BEHIND HER BEST SHOTS

I knew Annie Leibovitz was a phenomenal photographer. But I didn’t know she was a terrific storyteller, too. In At Work, she reveals the behind-the-scenes stories of her most famous photos: John and Yoko’s nude photo session (taken just a few hours before he was assassinated), Whoopi Goldberg lying in a tub of milk, Keith Haring in body paint, a shirtless Arnold Schwarzenegger mounted on a horse, a naked and very pregnant Dem...more
Nourhan
There is always an inspiration that pushes you to the photography world, could be a simple hiking trip.. A movie you watched.. Or an inspiring friend.

Annie Leibovitz studied art and attended a photography workshop where she learned how to create a story and how to see through your lens. They didn't say much about the camera's features as much as they focused on the story.

Annie talked about her early life when she started in Rolling Stone magazine, all work situations she had experienced.
What I...more
Austin
This is a nice book with nice photos (not a great book with great photos). Given that Leibowitz is quite possibly the most widely known living photographer, I was very disappointed to be left with the impression that her entire fame was a result of being in the right place at the right time (she started shooting for the upstart publication "Rolling Stone" when she was a 21 year old nobody), and that she didn't start taking intelligent, well crafted photos until she had been a professional for ne...more
Lisa Collins (Lisa Likes Books)
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. It was about photography and that’s about all I knew, aside from random people stating it was interesting to read.
If you’re looking for a lot of backstory and personal details on Annie Leibovitz this is not the book for you. Rather, it’s about—as the title states—the work she has done, the processes on each shoot, successes and pitfalls, et cetera.

I was thoroughly impressed with the whole thing and can hardly think of anything I didn’t lik...more
Nathan
If you have even a passing interest in the process of photography you should read this book. Annie Leibovitz has unquestionably taken some of the most iconic and historic pictures of the past 40 years, and in this book she opens up and talks about the circumstances and the stories behind photos that are so iconic, they're almost taken for granted.

The book spans the entirety of her career, from the resignation of Richard Nixon, to her absolutely gorgeous portraits of the Queen of England in 2007...more
Sarah
A thoroughly interesting book. Leibovitz recounts the stories behind some of her most famous (and infamous) photographs. I have to admit that I didn't know much about her early career, and I found myself being really impressed by all the different sorts of people and situations her work has covered -- I think that when people think of Leibovitz, what comes to mind is celebrity photography and Vanity Fair shoots. I had no idea that she photographed Sarajevo, for example.

I'm trying to learn more...more
Julie
I had been to see an exhibition of Annie Leibovitzs work both here at Te Papa and in London. Her iconic pictures are so well known, that it was always a surprise to see one of a celebrity that I hadn't seen before. I guess she has been taking photos since I was born, so there were quite a few that I didn't recognise.



I couldn't get over the feeling, that for much of the work that she was trying to justify that her work was hard - not just simple point and shoot sessions. You can see the work invo...more
Leendert
Many interesting anecdotes about working with the Rolling Stones, Hunter Thomson, the Queen, Obama, the methods of other photographers.

Trivia:
p 18. "I had the nagging feeling that magazines were the wrong road, that working for one was selling out, but feeling guilty is not a bad thing. You should always question what you do.'

p 168. "It took me years to understand that I equated asking someone to smile with asking them to do something false."

p 204. "I'd give the camera to my assistants to make s...more
Babak
This book was a very pleasant surprise. A book filled with nice photos, and in addition with wonderful text by the photographer to accompany the photos. Annie Leibovitz does magic when it comes to portraits of celebrities, and portraits in general. I was most pleased with the very easy-flowing narrative, where she describes her way to the top. Her text is very intimate.

She does not only tell us about her journey as a photographer. Her text also has loads of information about how professional pho...more
Tamara
Annie Leibovitz has a writing style similar to Maya Angelou; calm & wise. (Something I'm not sure I will ever accomplish myself.) But the most astonishing thing about this book is realizing how she has been a fly on the wall at some of the most groundbreaking moments in the last 30 years.

She photographed Andy Warhol and Truman Capote together. She photographed Arnold Schwarzenegger with Dolly Parton. She photographed Bush, Cheney, Rice & Powell in the Cabinet Room (because the Oval Offi...more
jess
This book is a series of photographs with accompanying short essays. The culmination is a wide-angle view of how Annie Leibovitz works and has worked. She discusses equipment, lighting, sets, studios, fake smiles, musicians, actors, athletes and politicians spanning the decades of her career. The move for film to digital is a quiet discussion - it's inevitable, digital is here, so we will adjust. There are some magical moments captured here. It's impossible not to be amazed by the specific histo...more
Louise
Why isn't this coffee table size? There is no comparison of the portraits of Bette Midler, Keith Harring, Steve Martin and others with those of earlier full size publications. For Leibovitz fans there is not much new. The bio has been published in many other sources and even the phrasing sounded familiar to me.

Leibovitz photographs are always great, but size matters. The best of the new material was the photographs and the photographing of Queen Elizabeth. Here, again and especially, the photos...more
Eric B
I expected the book to be full of photographs but was surprised by the generous amount of text that she dedicated to her work. I didn't know much of Annie's work but quickly picked up on the famous photographs that she took; complimentary to that though was how she described with detail her experiences behind these photographs.

Her writing is very easy to follow and compliments the photos perfectly. There were some instances in which she described some photos which weren't shown, and I had to tur...more
Jaimie
I have always thought og Leibovitz as a fashion photographer, but this book reveals how much more than that she is. The dominant theme of her photographic style is portraiture, but the variety of subject matter is very apparent through this presentation, which spans her work as a photojournalist and ad photographer as well as her time working for the major fashion publications. It's always true that photographers rarely cover only one type of photography, and Leibovitz is no different ub her evo...more
Lissa Chandler
"I'm interested in getting something unpredictable, something you don't normally see. Even so, when the picture starts to happen, it's often a surprise."

Annie Leibovitz is not my favorite photographer. At least, she wasn't one of my favorites before I read this book. But! Her essays are so beautiful, especially when they're coupled with photographs showing the time of her life she's discussing or, even better, an exact photograph she's extrapolating on. I loved reading her philosophies on photog...more
Sarah
I picked this one up on a whim when I saw it on a reshelving cart at work. I had been peripherally aware of Annie Leibovitz & her work, but didn't know much about her or her career. While this book didn't delve into her personal life too much, I feel like I did learn a bit about the path of her career as she framed it through different shoots or types of shoots. In all, I found her work & journey fascinating. She comes across as thoughtful and determined, if not a bit distant. The images...more
Gene
Jan 05, 2009 Gene rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: aspiring photographers, pros and those interested in photography
Review posted on our blog as well: http://pulp.orangephotography.com/blo...

I received At Work from my family as a holiday gift and read it in one day so you know it’s a quick read. The book clocks in at 237 pages and has a nice mix of images and the back stories to them. I really enjoyed the book to get her perspective on how she produces the images she creates as well as the logistics, thought and ideas that go into creating each shot. Her anecdotes are quite entertaining as well since many of...more
Glenn
Full disclosure: I only skimmed the text of this book. That said, the real draw here are the photos. Sure, there are dozens of Leibovitz's iconic shots that you've seen many times before, but there are also scores of lesser known photos that are just as striking. Each chapter contains a few photographs on a theme (war, Hollywood, The Rolling Stones, etc.) accompanied by Leibovitz's recollections about what went into making the photos. The final few chapters also include lists of her favorite equ...more
John-Nathan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dewayne Martin
First off, Leibovitz is a hero of mine. But, reading this volume it really impressed me just how human she is. I loved reading about how she stumbled as much early on as she succeeded. She grew from a naïve young woman to a very focused portrait photographer as her years began to grow. I have her on my short list of celebs I would actually want to sit down and have a beer with (Anthony Bourdain being the other)…and this book did nothing but strengthen that sentiment on my end. She has a very cre...more
Albert Yee
An incredible look at the behind the scenes process of photography through the pen of one of the most biggest portraitists of this age. Spanning her entire career, first as a stringer for a fledgling Rolling Stone to going on tour with bands and finally a session with the Queen of England. She's frank and the writing is raw.

There are technical aspects of the book, but it's not a manual by any means. Peppered with famous images from her incredible body of work, like her photography or not, you ha...more
Irene
I enjoyed the photographs of course. But what I enjoyed more was the narrative behind each photo. The setup, the equipment, the motivation. S.L. has seen a lot throughout her career, becoming a commercial and critical success. Does it bug me that she's become the "photographer to the stars" and has done a wedding or two? Sure. But i admire that she gave props to Capa and the photojournalists for being a special species of photog--and for trying photography their way. Also, she lived through some...more
Allisonperkel
I've never felt I was that influenced by Annie Leibovitz, then I read this book and began to realize that most of my favorite images from the late 70s and 80s were taken by her. Additionally, a lot of the ways she approaches a subject - a photo - are ways that I try to approach a subject (especially when she was still new).

This book gives a very quick insight into how her mind moves and thinks - its not a discussion on how she did the shoot, its more a discussion on the thoughts around her duri...more
Chris
Just received a lovely (thanks Barbara) signed edition of this and flew through it. The text (which is based on conversations but rendered as though it is Annie writing/speaking directly) is at times disjointed and clumsy, but clumsy or not it offers an fascinating glimpse into Leibovitz' process. Best for me were the remembrances of touring with the Stones, watching Ah-nold become Ah-nold over the years, and learning that Al Sharpton once managed SOul Brother #1 Mr. James Brown and adopted his...more
Patricia
I don't really care for Annie Leibovitz as a writer; I felt like this book was 90% cut and dry description of things that happened to Annie and only 10% interesting insights into the things that happened. Nevertheless, her pictures really are iconic and the contemporary nature of her work makes learning the context of her photos all the more interesting. It's fun to read the anecdotes she has collected over the years from working with people like the Queen, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, etc. Her vi...more
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Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer whose style is marked by a close collaboration between the photographer and the subject.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Leibovitz is the third of six children in a Jewish family. Her mother was a modern dance instructor, while her father was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. The family moved frequently with her fath...more
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