Annie L. does Beto O.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by The Shadow, Mar 14, 2019.


    Seems to me the photos do their job well. Good intro for Beto, with almost a Rockwellian homage ... family, warm tones, casual, America. The dog! The open road, a little of that Kerouac influence Beto is playing with.

    Manipulative? Why not? It’s politics. Haven’t read the article yet. It was the pictures I was more interested in for the moment.

    Are these photos remarkable/extraordinary? No. I don’t think they’re trying to be. The first and particularly the last are the most iconic. They do seem relatable. Leibovitz seems to portray a distinctively appealing character, politics aside. She seems sympathetic to the persona Beto puts forth. And I mean “sympathetic” in the sense of harmonic resonance. She seems to get him and be able to visually translate the narrative he’s creating.

    To me, these are good story-telling photos, good character studies. She’s a celebrity photographer and he’s staked out a celebrity lane. Still, though, relatively understated as that goes. They are commercial. That’s Annie, at the top of her game.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  2. Well, at least they're not all about Leibovitz, as so many of hers are. They are very definitely propagandistic, but there's a nice sort of "hometown" feel to them that may or may not represent the subject. They seem to look to the past as well, which may be what O'Rourke intends to project. Of course I'm suspicious.
  3. My take is that the photos are cleverly located, framed, shot, post-processed and selected to project (one part of) the O' Rouke 'brand'. I assume it's genuine (I'd never heard of him). Many photos in the series initially gave me the sense of being almost 'amateur snaps' shot on the fly, but of course they're not. The photo's perfectly show a homely, informal, regular guy doing everyday things his family. The Leibovitz style (colors, relatively low contrasts and saturation) is consistent throughout the series and with earlier work. So the photos look low-tech, not too sharp, not too vibrant, not too perfectly framed (a missing foot is fine!), include color casts, etc.

    These are very different from photos of O'Rourke speaking at public engagements with a suit and tie on. Homely photo's of him making pancakes in the kitchen also fit 'the story' much better than photos of him mowing one of his 4 lawns with his monumental house in the backgground. ;)

    So yes, I think Leibovitz did a great job of portaying 'the man' rather than 'the polititician'.
  4. n/t
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  5. Can we please leave politics alone?
  6. What an assignment! What pressure! How do you measure success? Twenty months from now? I say it’s a monumental undertaking broken into incremental steps. A photograph that’s more than just a picture. It’s like they are building blocks.
  7. She may have photographed him with the large house behind. But the editor eliminated those and picked the shots to fit the story.
  8. Good point, @AlanKlein! You're right of course. I'm sure Leibovitz submitted many more photos from which the editor (probably in agreement with O'Rourke and/or his campaign manager) selected these ones that fitted the story. I'd forgotten about the editor's role. Thanks for this.

  9. When studied faux authentic mediocrity becomes a virtue…
    frans_waterlander likes this.
  10. I'm allergic to being told whom to like. I'm serious--it makes me run the other way. Leibovitz does a fantastic job with these photos, I can tell because now I can't stand the guy.
    frans_waterlander likes this.

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