Annie Leibovitz portrait analysis.

I am analyzing Annie Leibovitz’s portrait of Louise Bourgeois, French-American artist and sculptor.

Annie Leibovitz

This portrait is a black and white image in landscape format, portrait photography.
Within the frame the woman is positioned with both her face and her body angled away from the lens with only her right hand face on to the camera in a loose grip like posture.

Her hair is dark, with some very obvious grey within it; it seems old, brittle and perhaps uncared for. The woman is very elderly; her face is wrinkled and worn with her skin drooping downwards. She also appears quite frail; the small part of her wrist and arm we see appears thin and fragile exaggerated by the oversized shirt or jacket she wears.

Her expression is blank. Her face seems to tell us nothing of her mood or emotion and we are even unable to depict whether her eyes are open or shut or even whether she is alive.

The photograph captures the authenticity of the subject matter, without glamorizing the setting. The portrait has not been taken in a conventional photography studio; instead it is taken against a worn wall.

The subject (Louise Bourgeois) not made up and romanticized. The portrait is simple and uncomplicated and perhaps this is the beauty of it. The foremost component of the image is the wrinkles, delicate and harsh all at once. The lighting highlights the contours and small details of her face and clothing, also darkening her eyes so we are unable to depict expression from them.

Despite the women’s fragile state there is something very powerful about this photograph. Within this image we see the eighty six year old Louise Bourgeois worn and wrinkled.

Although Louise is depicted in a fragile state, due to the lighting and the angle upwards of the photograph it enhances the power and strength of both subject and photograph.
The importance of the hand within this portrait is unquestionable, It depicts the subjects true age and more importantly for Bourgeois, they are the tool she has crafted her career with, the working force of her success.

The simplicity and use of lighting draws our attention to the hands. The strong lighting stressing the delicate, deep lines within her skin allowing us to observe every detail. The positioning of her hand, face on to the lens, next to her face and body which are angled to the right looking towards her hand, accentuate it’s significance.