Annie Leibovitz has submerged Whoopi Goldberg in a bath of warm milk. She has stripped Lance Armstrong of his bike shorts and strapped him to an iron horse naked while getting rained on. She's painted Sting gold and pelted him with sand in the desert. She's even put an extremely naked and extremely pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair. However, her edginess makes for beautiful photos and that's how America's most famous photographer has managed to stay that way for the last 30 years.
Her new book, "Annie Leibovitz At Work," looks back over a stellar career with awe as well as a reflection on her respect for the technical side of photography. This book is a practical look at what it takes to create the legendary, dream-like (and sometimes) risque shoots that Leibovitz is most famous for.
The book spans a career with details on everything from shooting icons from our parents generation as well as ours, following the Rolling Stones on tour, defining the sleek, stark, arresting look of Rolling Stone Magazine, creating hundreds of commercial ads, TV promos, movie posters, and of course, taking stars out of their comfort zone and capturing their vulnerability for Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Appearing at Philadelphia's Free Library on Thursday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m., Annie Leibovitz will talk about her celebrated career and the art and technique of creating some of the most famous images of the last 30 years.
Leibovitz will no doubt dip into a vault of stories with some of the world's most recognizable figures. On tour with the Rolling Stones, she saw Keith Richards on the brink of death from various substance addictions. In 1980, she photographed John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono a mere hours before the ubiquitous icon was slain in front of New York's Dakota Hotel.
Long story short, anybody can make a celeb uncomfortable. It takes a true talent to get them to thank you for the experience afterwards. When you agree to shoot with Leibovitz, you may lose a little dignity, you may lose some clothing, but most can rest assured the result will be breathtaking.