Each of the extraordinary portraits made by photographer Annie Leibovitz for her book Women
stands on its own. Looked at together, these "photographs of people with nothing more in common than that they are women (and living in America at the end of the twentieth century), all--well almost all--fully clothed," writes Susan Sontag in the book's preface, form "an anthology of destinies and disabilities and new possibilities." Leibovitz, who in her years working for Rolling Stone
, and Vanity Fair
magazines has photographed hundreds of celebrities, turns her lens on a wide range of ordinary and extraordinary female subjects: coal miners, socialites, first ladies, artists, domestic-violence victims, an astronaut, a surgeon, a maid. What she creates is a reflection of contemporary American womanhood that mirrors both women's accomplishments and the challenges they still face individually and as a group.
Leibovitz demonstrates her own range as a photographer in this body of work, shooting in the studio and natural settings and working in both black-and-white and color film. She depicts model Jerry Hall wearing a little black dress, a fur coat, and high heels, staring frankly at the viewer from a velvet chair in a plush red parlor while her naked infant son nurses from her exposed right breast. Schoolteacher Lamis Srour's eyes--the only part of her face visible behind her heavy black veil--illuminate a dark black-and-white portrait. Leibovitz frames actress Elizabeth Taylor and her dog Sugar by their shocks of snow-white hair. She captures four Kilgore College Rangerettes, a drill team, at the apex of their kicks--white-booted legs pointing up, obscuring their faces and revealing the red underpants beneath their blue miniskirts. There are many more wonderful and unexpected images here, over 200 in all. The delight in discovering them awaits readers. --Jordana Moskowitz
From School Library Journal
-To look upon the faces of the women photographed in this collection of more than 200 portraits is to marvel at and admire the intensity and dignity of the personalities represented. The subjects depicted encompass every imaginable field of endeavor. There are aerialists, writers, coal miners, battered women, and socialites, to name a few. They range from anonymous to well known. Leibovitz has become a celebrity in her own right since starting her career at Rolling Stone and then moving on to work at Vogue and Vanity Fair. She is well known for her photographs of some of the icons of 20th-century culture-rock stars, movie stars, politicians, athletes, and novelists, as well as many other famous figures, often posing her subjects in unconventional and surprising ways. Sontag's thought-provoking essay gives further insight and explanation. Young adults will be inspired, challenged, and moved both by the accomplishments and situations of the women photographed, as well as by the skill and eye of the artist who captured their images.Turid Teague, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
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