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A photographers life

Published: June 22, 2011 (Issue # 1662)



  • Photographer Annie Leibovitz pictured at the opening of her exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum on Tuesday.
    Photo: ALEXANDER BELENKY / The St. Petersburg Times

  • Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rob Besserer shot on Cumberland Island, Georgia in 1990.
    Photo: ANNIE LEIBOVITZ

Sitting in the apartments of Tsar Alexander I in the State Hermitage Museum, Annie Leibovitz is a generous presence in an otherwise daunting enfilade of staterooms. At 62, she is possibly the worlds most famous photographer, and during the past four decades has trained her lens on the great and the good and on a fair share of monsters too. It wouldnt be an exaggeration to say that few photographers can lay claim to quite as much psychic real estate as Leibovitz. From the Rolling Stones to the Clintons, she has photographed just about anyone who is anybody, creating some of the 20th centurys most memorable portraits in the process.

The survey exhibition now on view at the Hermitage brings together a selection of Leibovitzs photography from between 1990 and 2005: 15 years that saw important changes in her personal life. It was a book before it was a show, and thats probably the reason I felt comfortable with the imagery going into it, she said Tuesday in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the exhibitions opening.

Some of the images makes it seem like, are we trespassing? But in the shelter of the book covers, it felt protected. So it was interesting to translate it into a show.

Now out in the world, and hung against the pastel walls of the Winter Palace, it becomes clear that this multifaceted body of work is held together by the sheer force of her personality, her distinctive voice, a relentless pursuit of the telling moment and a deep, almost melancholic, understanding of the transience of life.

On some level I like the book more, she says. But on another level its exciting to see it come to life. And the show changes wherever its mounted.

The personal work is printed far smaller than the assignment works, she explains, because it was designed to be intimate.

The Connecticut-born, New York-based artist began her journey in the crucible of late 1960s San Francisco and has been at the epicenter of the entertainment industry ever since. Her uniquely American vision has made her one of the most important chroniclers of what fascinates the nation, and has earned her a place among its most eloquent raconteurs.

Leibovitz started out at Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, where she created portraits of a generation that still resonate today. In the 80s she moved to Vanity Fair, going on to define that decade and the next with her take on everything from the O. J. Simpson murder trial to a portrait of a naked and very pregnant Demi Moore. Most recently, her photographs for Vogue have taken fashion photography from the merely glamorous to the downright operatic.

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Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegations visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmChams Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finlands Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping malls Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldnt miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBAs Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Centers Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.