Essay on Annie Liebovitz's Women

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Annie Liebovitz's Women

After reading a book on various feminist philosophies, I evaluated Annie Liebovitz's book and collection of photographs entitled Women according to my interpretation of feminist philosophy, then used this aesthetic impression to evaluate the efficacy of feminist theories as they apply toward evaluating and understanding art.

“A photograph is not an opinion. Or is it?” So begins Susan Sontag's introductory essay to the book Women, a collection of photographs by Annie Leibovitz. Collected without a stated intention other than to treat on the subject matter at hand, Leibovitz’s images confront a wide spectrum of issues surrounding women living in America at the end of the twentieth century. Sontag explains, “Any
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Of particular concern are the women who are celebrated and glamorized as successful and well-educated artists, actresses, and celebrities. We are so familiar with slick, glossy photographs of women such as Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore, rapper Lil’ Kim, or young actress Christina Ricci, that at first glance these portraits are far more celebratory, depicting the women in thoughtful, atmospheric lighting, perfect makeup and hair, beautiful clothing, and carefully-framed shots. It is very clear - these are not tabloid photos, but instead artistic portraits, to be viewed as such. The complication arises when we consider what statement Leibovitz is making about the real nature of their careers, however, as seen in a careful evaluation of the postures and presentations of these “powerful” and “successful” women.

Drew Barrymore is wearing a gauzy flesh-colored dress, splayed out on a patch of ultra-green filtered grass. Her face is turned away from us, almost unrecognizable, looking downward and over her shoulder, her arms listlessly at her side and touching her shoulder. She is flat on the ground with her knees raised and spread slightly apart, shot from above, with a corpse-like pallor and demeanor. Were she not identified in the caption by name, a viewer would be hard-pressed to determine the identity of this accessible and apparently disposable body. Perhaps this is the

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