Cruiz Dwyer reviews Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens

2008-08-14 16:35
The simple truth of the matter is that the name Annie Leibovitz echoes through popular culture, so it was only a matter of time before a documentary was made on her work. Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens, just so happens to be the title of a documentary undertaking and whether you are a fan of Leibovitz or not, this film is worth a look.

The documentary is structured in four ways - there are the candid interview segments, footage of present commissioned work by Leibovitz, her meeting with a publisher, and her history. This all sounds rather overwhelming, but in reality, it's a simple integration which is easy for the audience to follow.

The structure of moving from present day to the past, and interviews in-between add more interest to the documentary. The director, Barbara Leibovitz (Annie's sister), must be commended for making the entire experience gel together, but that doesn't stop the documentary having a very outdated feel.

The film is geared towards those who know little about Annie Leibovitz, as the information presented will be well-known to anyone who has followed her career. Yet the film does work as a collective, allowing all the integral information about her life to be condensed. And what is presented is interesting, such as Leibovitz early days traveling with the Rolling Stones, and how she developed into a more mature photographer after various influences in her life. It all makes for a good story of self-discovery, and really puts her later work, such as the Miley Cyrus incident, into perspective.

That aside, the documentary could have been better. Considering that Leibovitz is one of the most celebrated photographers of our time, the 86 minute runtime really needed to be longer to flesh out what is presented. It's a pity to see so little in terms of celebrity participation with regards to interviews.

There are a few blasphemous terms but besides that, the only other objectionable content comes in the form of an array nude pictures.

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens is an interesting documentary that deserves a watch, but for a photographer of this caliber, the documentary is a bit of a shame.

- Cruiz Dwyer
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