WOMEN: New Portraits


I saw a poster for the WOMEN: New Portraits exhibition by Annie Leibovitz on the way to work today and I hope to make time to go along in the next few days.

Since the announcement late last year of an update to the work Leibovitz did for the book Women I have been waiting with baited breath. Fingers crossed that I get to update this page following my visit soon.

21 JANUARY 2016 Well I have managed to go along to this sooner than I expected.

The layout is unexpected with the main room containing large electronic displays with a smaller reading room to the side. On the electronic displays the images of the exhibition scroll along and if you have the patience (which I don’t) you can watch them all.

There was also a selection of images pinned to a makeshift wall which is an unusual way to display work but it does make it feel more personal. Choices that could have been made by Leibovitz herself rather than some picture editors or art critics.

The personal feel continues into the reading room with comfy chairs available. In this room the main attraction are the two oversized books which I’m guessing contains her work. I’m guessing as the popularity of them meant I only admired them from a distance.

Walking away from the exhibit I couldn’t help but feel a bit powerless being unable to take away some of her work to inspire me at a later date. Then it came to me what this exhibition is really about. It is about a photographer who is extremely proud of their work, knows the value in each and every image and does not want to give that away.

There are many ways in which Leibovitz could have shared these images with the world. The fact that they are being shared in this format, while retaining exclusivity, as part of a world tour is very smart. There are reasons why Leibovitz is one of the world’s top commercial photographers.

I must admit that I am a bit in awe of Leibovitz’s ability to be ahead of the cultural zeitgeist in the work she produces. If one day I get to a stage where I have even a tiny bit of that talent, I will be happy with that.

Free entry at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London until 7 February 2016.