Learning how to see the world through someone else’s eyes is a hard thing to do. Many artists have struggled with the challenge and few have risen to the occasion of doing so. Contemporary photographers are concerned with taking photograph’s that reflect the social and political aspects of today’s society. They do this using their own individual styles to reflect the feelings and emotions of the subject, whether it be human or nature itself.
Annie Leibovitz is influenced by her subjects. She brings out the parts of celebrities personalities that are never shown to the general public. By spending a few days learning and researching about her subject’s life, then spending a day or two with her actual subject, she becomes more comfortable with the person she is photographing and them with her. By doing this she is able to accurately portray their true person. In her photo of Meryl Streep we can clearly see that it was influenced by Meryls’ own personality. Annie describes her experience working with Meryl Streep in an interview with Scholastic Art “She was just becoming a big starÐ’…they were photographing her all the time and she couldn’t deal with itÐ’….When she came to my studio, she said she didn’t want to be anybody, all she was was an actress. I had some clown’s makeup, so I said, Ð”Be no one, let’s try the whiteface.’ That’s when she started to pull her cheeks out. It’s great when that stuff happens.” (Behind the Mask 2007). Annie was influenced by Meryl’s personality, because Meryl wanted to be “no one” which allowed Meryl to let her personality shine through, even though she was wearing a mask.Order now
This further allowed Annie leibovitz to capture a true representation of her subject. In her portrait of Bruce Springsteen, the suspended figure of rock musician in concert is dramatic by itself. When Annie Leibovitz places him in front of a closely cropped American flag however, it offers a statement on the singers’ frequently politically charged lyrics. In this portrait of Bruce Springsteen she vividly captures the artist behind the music and his political feelings. One of her most famous photos shows a naked John Lennon hugging his wife Yoko Ono. For the photograph Leibovitz had wanted the couple to pose together nude. Yoko Ono refused, so the picture was taken with her clothing on. “We took one Polaroid,” said Leibovitz, “and the three of us knew it was profound right away.”(Annie Leibovitz, Feature Essay). In the photograph you can clearly see the love that is shared by Yoko and John Lennon through the expressions on their faces.
Ansel Adams was inspired by a boyhood trip to Yosemite, a national park area in California. This was where he took some of his first pictures with a little brownie camera. More than 30 years later he was still taking pictures of Yosemite, but with very dramatic results, as seen in Clearing Winter Storm. This picture was not taken on a sunny day as many others would. He has instead taken a photo of the mountain in a very dramatic setting, in the midst of a winter storm while heavy clouds tumble across the scene with high winds blowing through the valley. He has taken this picture just as the clouds are moving away and you can start to see the mountains in the distance.
There are a wide range of tones and details captured. When Ansel Adams began his career, many photographers took fuzzy, hand-tinted photos which were popular at the time as they pretended to be paintings. He did not agree with this type of photography, so instead he did “straight” photography. He photographed one of his favourite places in the mountains of the western United States, where the weather was forever changing. Ansel Adams has said “Ever since that first sight of Yosemite Valley in 1926, my life has been coloured by the mountains” (Art & Man, How Ansel creates). He feels strongly about nature and communicates this with us through his photography. You can see this in one of his most famous photos Moonrise Hernandez. The sun coming through the clouds as a storm was clearing away, lighting up the buildings and cemetery below. And above it all, a beautiful, clear, full moon. Truly a magical sight to behold.