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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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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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