Annie Leibovitz is probably one of my favourite female photographers of all time. Still, her book "At Work" surpassed all my expectations.
The book not only sheds light on her most famous portraits (the pregnant Demi Moore, Whoopie Goldberg in the bath full of milk or the Lennon-Ono embrace), but it also shows a lot of her early documentary work - most notably of the Rolling Stones on tour in the 1970s.
Whilst going into every minute detail of her shoot preparations, lighting and equipment, Annie manages to be very honest about her work process. Here are some of my favourite quotes.
"Arnold Newman said that photography is one percent talent and ninety-nine percent moving furniture. I think about that sometimes when we're on location and we've moved the set - the stage, the lights, the backdrop, sandbags, fans. And moved them again. And again. I just have to close my eyes to everything that's being done. The manual labour is daunting."
"As much as I love pictures that have been set up, and as important as those pictures are to me, I'd rather photograph something that occurs on its own. The tension between those two kinds of photographs is at the heart of what I do. It's not a conflict, but sometimes it's useful to remember that things are happening right in front of you and that you don't have to complicate the situation. You can take what's given to you."