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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Photography > Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens (2006/Warner DVD)

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens (2006/Warner DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Documentary: B



As the visual media world goes directly digital too fast for its own good, I was surprised to know that even swifter in still camera work than in motion pictures.  That may help when it comes to uploading images to computers and printing them in not-often-excellent JPEGs and secondary color and detail reproduction.  However, the best digital camera still cannot capture what the best still 35mm cameras and plate portrait work can and as was always the case, it takes a real great eye and amazing talent to bring the still photography world to life.  Annie Leibovitz is one of them.


Known for her groundbreaking work for Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines, as well as other classic album and promo shots that have made her one of the most important still photographers of all time!  Now truer than ever in the digital era, Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens (2006, directed by her partner, Barbara Leibovitz) shows the woman behind the camera, her motivations, life personality, ideas, approach, choices and other items that have made her one of the greatest Auteurs in the history of photography.


The celebrity interview list is impressive, most of whom are friends and clients, including (but not limited to) Demi Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bette Midler, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Keira Knightley, Roseanne Cash, Yoko Ono and many notables in the publishing, fashion and photography world.  There is also her political work and documentary work, like showing powerful political figures in ways no one else can or even genocide.


Another interesting insight is into her current family and her former relationship with the late great writer/thinker Susan Sontag, her first life partner and it was a truly great match.  Sontag is ever underrated and her moments are golden here, as she rightly shares the sunlight with Leibovitz and it becomes another priceless moment in this impressive documentary.  Anyone serious about any visual arts or artists should mark this a must-see.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image actually has various aspect ratios including bookended 1.33 X 1 and 1.78 X 1 oddly letterboxed in the 1.33 area.  The result is as varied as any other documentary, though the frames of her actual photography look especially goods and should be more vivid when this comes out on Blu-ray.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no real surrounds, but is nicely recorded throughout.  Extras include over an hour of extended interviews in five sections.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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