Annie Leibovitz was born in 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut and enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute intent on studying painting. It was not until she and her mother traveled to Japan after her sophomore year that she discovered her interest in taking photographs. In 1970, she photographed for the Rolling Stone magazine and became chief photographer just two years later. Leibovitz has photographed many celebrities such as John Lennon. She has created influential advertising campaigns for American Express and the Gap and has contributed frequently to the Got Milk? campaign. Annie Leibovitz has worked with many arts organizations, including American Ballet Theatre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her books include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983), Photographs: Annie Leibovitz 1970–1990 (1991), Olympic Portraits (1996), Women (1999), American Music (2003), A Photographer’s Life: 1990–2005 (2006), and Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008). Exhibitions of her images have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery, in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Centre National de la Photographie, in Paris; and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Annie Lebovitz took this photograph of Louise Bourgeois. The composition in this image is intriguing because of the way the subject creates positive and negative space. Where Bourgeois’s hand is, really creates an interesting shape to the background. The tone of the lighting in this photograph matches the mood of the subject. There seems to be some parallelism between the wrinkles of her skin and the wrinkles of her clothes that really brings this image together. The portrait only shows a side profile of Bourgeois’s face to give a sense of mystery where the viewer does not really know what this subject has gone through.
I believe that this photograph is a successful portrait because it really captures what Louise Bourgeois portrays in her own work through sculpture. Her gesture gives a sense of anxiety while her face is expressing sadness and despair. Since the portrait only consists of one person with this somewhat depressing mood, the viewer can also draw out a feeling of loneliness and hardship. This portrait mirrors Louise Bourgeois’s own work with suggestions of the human figure and expressions of themes such as betrayal, anxiety, and loneliness.