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HomeContentsCommentaries > Colin Westerbeck: Photo Synthesis

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Tim HawkinsonOctopus
Cindy ShermanUntitled Film Still #82
Robert Glenn KetchumLakeshore in Morning Fog
Abelardo MorellCamera Obscura Image of the Grand Tetons in Resort Room, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
John SanchezRachel Rosenthal, Artist
Mitch EpsteinBuena Vista, Colorado
Leland RiceVolkswagen With Figure
Catherine WagnerThe Lamps of 1900
Ned SloaneTelephone Pole Piece, Los Angeles: Photograph of Kim Jones
Andrew Freeman#3.4.04- Don Becker's Garage & Guesthouse, Independence, California N36O.48.229 - W118O.11.620
Ken Gonzales-DayFranklin Avenue (1920)
Jo Ann CallisMan in Tie
Bruce NaumanBurning Small Fires (Artist Book)
Annie LeibovitzScarlett Johansson, Chateau Marmont, West Hollywood
David MaiselOblivion 1382-52p
Gilbert B. WeingourtTimothy Leary
Richard MisrachUntitled (Ocotillo)
Edward SteichenSylvia Sidney, Hollywood
Ruben OchoaFwy Wall Extraction
Hunter S. Thompson and othersFrom "Gonzo"
Henry WesselLas Vegas No. 15
James FeeEpiphany
John BaldessariFace (with Red Nose): Plus Four Alternate Noses
Anthony HernandezEverything #2
Ansel AdamsGraduation dress
Loretta AyeroffMountain View, Edris Drive
Grant MudfordWalt Disney Concert Hall, Under Construction #7
Frederick SommerStendhal
Tina ModottiInterior of the Church Tower at Tepotzotlan
Henri Cartier-BressonMexico City
Irving PennHell's Angels, San Francisco
William DassonvilleFrom Glacier Point
Christina FernandezFashion International
Mark LaitaAir Traffic Controller, Todd Phipps, Palmdale, California, May 5, 2006
Juggler, Sergey Gripkov, Los Angeles, February 21, 2000
Mark WyseUntitled Landscape
U.S. Air Force 1352nd Photographic Group, Lookout Mountain StationSugar, 1.2 Kilotons, Nevada
Julius ShulmanVon Sternberg Residence, Northridge
Joaquin TrujilloAmy, Los Ninos
Robert HeineckenShiva Manifesting as a Single Mother
Han NguyenTsunami
Melanie EinzigBikram Yoga Instructor, North Beach, San Francisco
John Patrick SalisburyUntitled No. 134
Karen HalversonGamble House Entry
Bill Owens4th of July Parade, Pleasanton, California
Catherine OpieMy Studio, Suzanne's Work
Eliot PorterReflections in Pool, Escalante River, Utah
Adam BartosLos Angeles
Stan HondaFrom the Heart Mountain Barracks Project
Hiromu KiraThe Thinker
Jeff MermelsteinYosemite National Park, California
Lewis BaltzWest Wall, Unoccupied Industrial Structure, 20 Airway Drive, Costa Mesa
Dennis HopperRobert Irwin
Hansel Mieth and Otto HagelS.F. Water Front
Edward BurtynskyOxford Tire Pile #8, Westley, California
Beahan & McPheeAlmond Trees and Flood Irrigation, Oakdale
Larry SultanBoxers, Mission Hills
Isabel GomesBlue Horizon, Santa Rosa Island
Edward WestonCabbage Leaf
Anthony FriedkinOffshore Winds, Zuma Beach
Richard LongDonner Pass Circle: Along a 20 Day Walk from Ebbetts Pass to the North Fork Feather River Sierra Nevada California 2005
John SwopeDorothy McGuire, Beverly Hills
Hans-Christian SchinkLA Night #1
Herve FriendRedlands From Smiley Hill
Joel SternfeldQueen of the Prom, the Range Nightclub, Slab City, California
   
Standard
  
  
Annie Leibovitz 
Scarlett Johansson, Chateau Marmont, West Hollywood 
2004 
  
Photograph © 2006 Annie Leibovitz / contact from ˘A PhotographerĂs Life 1990-2005÷ (Random House, 2006) Courtesy of the artist 
  
 
LL/16808 
  
Photo Synthesis
Colin Westerbeck
 
"Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005" will be at the San Diego Museum of Art Feb. 10-April 22.
 
What on earth is Scarlett Johansson wearing or not wearing? Somewhere in between "Girl With a Pearl Earring" and "Match Point," Johansson went from a betrayed innocent to an irresistible vamp, a career move in the middle of which Annie Leibovitz captured her. Johansson looks like a Vegas showgirl sizing up some high roller who's flown her to L.A. for a one-night stand.
 
There's an edginess in Leibovitz's photographs between stripping down and playing dress-up; that is, the edge separating them is hard to find. I've always thought of the famous photograph of John Lennon curled up against Yoko Ono not as one where he's nude, but as one in which she's wearing him. Dress-up is what Leibovitz does best. She's a gifted photo-caricaturist. (Think of Steve Martin costumed as his Franz Kline painting or Christo wrapped like his own art projects).
 
Yet the hijinks have sometimes been haunted by death. Christo looks as if he's in a winding sheet, and Lennon was killed just hours after the portrait session. Aging, sickness and death are overpowering themes of this retrospective, in which the nudity turns into a nakedness before one's fate. Seeing pictures of Leibovitz's "lover" (her word) Susan Sontag, bereft not only of clothes but of her dignity as she dies from cancer, is almost unbearable.
 
[Originally published in West Magazine : February 4, 2007, p.7] 
 
 
  
 
  
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