Annie-Leibovitz

WOMEN: New Portraits by Annie Leibovitz

08.01.2016 | Art | BY:

Annie Leibovitz is widely considered to be one of the world’s best portrait photographers. Her book Women, which was first published in 1999, celebrates an array of women, from Supreme Court Justices and Vegas showgirls to coalminers and farmers. In 2016, the project is set to continue in the form of a travelling exhibition, making its debut in January at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London.

Over twelve months, Annie Leibovitz’s new portraits will appear in ten cities; London, Tokyo, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, New York and Zurich. The new portraits will display the changes in women’s roles in contrast with those 15 years ago. Alongside Leibovitz’s new work, visitors will be able to view work from the original series and other photographs taken since.

Speaking at a press conference at Somerset House, Leibovitz describes how Women ‘is an unending project, it goes on and on.’ The original project is Annie Leibovitz’s most popular body of work and was a collaborative series with her partner Susan Sontag, who accompanied the subject matter with an essay. Sontag passed away in 2004, but her influence had a lasting effect on Leibovitz’s photography, with Sontag encouraging her to become more intimate with her photographs.

The original book features 100 portraits of women, including public figures like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gloria Steinhem, and Leibovitz has promised 20 additional images to the project in 2016. At present, only one new photograph from the series has been released, of Leibovitz and her daughters Sarah, Susan and Samuelle. However, Leibovitz has confirmed that new portraits from the series will include Venus and Serena Williams, Amy Schumer and her sister Kim Caramele, Misty Copeland, and Caitlyn Jenner.

WOMEN: New Portraits has been commissioned by UBS and will be presented to the public for the first time on the 16th January 2016 at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London. Admission is free.

ubs.com

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The Pirelli discussion continues

10.12.2015 | Art , Thoughts | BY:

The Pirelli 2016 Calendar has been met with contrasting reviews. Most people have been singing its feminist praises; in a markedly new direction compared with previous years, the calendar has welcomed a diverse array of successful women, and offers varied and mostly clothed images of female bodies, diverting from its usual display of artful nudity. Others have noted that while the calendar celebrates female empowerment, it also limits the sexual attractiveness and femininity of the women on its pages. It suggests that women can be either successful or beautiful, but not both.

To interpret the Pirelli 2016 calendar in this binary way would overlook the point of the pictures, in Leibovitz’s words they are to show the women exactly as they are. The calendar shows us that our bodies can be used in different ways; to represent power and strength, like the striking shot of Serena Williams’ rippling back muscles. Or as a comedic device, like the photo of Amy Schumer topless and surprised, suggesting that she didn’t get the ‘clothes on’ memo this year. These are ways that men’s bodies have been presented for a long time in the media. More than showing that flaws or quirks can be beautiful and sexy, these pictures invite us to look past the sexualisation of women’s bodies and to start noticing the other things a body can do, like be strong, powerful, suited and booted.

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February, 1972, Sarah Moon

The calendar has gone viral on social media, and no matter how it is interpreted, having an iconic publication like the Pirelli calendar joining and extending the conversation about female representation can only be a good thing. Just a year ago, Pirelli’s calendar was a spread of high profile supermodels in various states of undress. The calendar may be just one small step for womankind, but it is one big step for Pirelli and towards the cultural shift we are all yearning for.

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December, 1987, Terence Donovan

pirellicalendar.pirelli.com

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