Netflix and Stan and all of the new subscription services are great, but at times having so much extra choice makes it feel like it is harder to find something to watch. I stumbled across a documentary on famed photographer Annie Leibovitz recently. It was fascinating. She first made her name in Rolling Stone magazine. During this time she toured with the actual Rolling Stones. She lived and breathed tour life. She drank and partook in the party scene in every way possible. It was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Yet she managed to do her job, she was loved by celebrities because she just fit it. She was not intrusive. It is amazing how many incredible moments in history that she has managed to capture.
Leibovitz is many things, an artist, a lesbian, a story teller. The most amazing part of this doco is learning about how when she finished up at Rolling Stone, she went into rehab and then started a new career with Vanity Fair, sober.
While many other celebs who face addiction seem to have fallen on and off the wagon over and over, it appears as if she was able to suddenly stop one day in accordance with the culture of her work place.
As with many artists, Liebowitz is somehow introverted. She had a girlfriend for many years and yet people did not know. She became a mother late in life. Liebovitz shows real and raw emotion towards her children and her late partner.
Leibovitz has photographed so many big names, from Chevy Chase to Bette Midler to Donald Trump to you name it. She even photographed Yoko and John Lennon on the day he was shot dead – it was the shoot where a naked Lennon cuddles Yoko. Part of her secret was to be natural, to suggest things to her subjects, not force them, people really like her and so her great ideas collaborate with the stars themselves to make magical photography.
Mid-career her girlfriend encouraged her to go to Kosovo and photograph the war. This changed her and a poignant point made in the film was that when she returned from shooting the horrible realities of war, the photographing of celebrities suddenly became less important.
Leibovitz is a very modest and likeable personality who definitely feels more comfortable on the other side of her camera. Interestingly she really does not believe a photo can capture the essence of a person – only a moment in time. This was an insightful doco showing a woman with pure talent and real heart – if you are looking for something to watch – this one is highly entertaining.