London has a plethora of museums. On everything. There is a transportation museum, WWI museum, natural history museum etc etc etc. I don’t usually just pop by one of them on a Tuesday. It just seems like a pretentious thing to do: “Oh, dear I hope you had a good day at work, I wondered around the Tate modern for a few hours and really changed my perspective on life.” That isn’t really me. But my friend Lindsey asked if I wanted to go to the Annie Liebovitz exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. This is a temporary exhibit that will be ending soon and I am so glad that I got a chance to see it.
It wasn’t an extremely large exhibit but it took a long time to go through. Usually in a room of a museum I scan the room and pick out one or two pieces to go and get a really good look. But in this exhibit, every single photo was captivating. I didn’t like all of them; some were creepy or uncomfortable or just strange. But all of them were mesmerizing. Examples of the two extremes.
See? Creepy. Did he kill the swan? Is he protecting the swan? Does the swan stand for something metaphorically? Swans are MEAN. They do not cuddle. Does he have magic swan handling powers? Was the swan drugged?
This photo is amazing. It is even better in person because it is almost as if it is lit from behind. Living in London, I see pictures of the queen all the time. Annie Liebovitz has shot the queen many times and I believe that this is the most recent. In all the other pictures you see, she either has on her crown and tons of jewels in a very formal setting or it is a paparazzi photo of her in the pastel suit and crazy hat. That queen is a figurehead and stateswoman. This queen is a badass.
It was a beautiful exhibit and I am so glad that I got to go before it leaves. I don’t know if it is a traveling exhibit but if it is and it comes near you, go see it! Whether you are interested in photography, art or anything like that, there is no denying that her work has changed American portrait photography. I think for the better.