Annie Leibovitz – Life through a Lens

I missed it when it was at cph:dox last year but the Swedish broadcaster SVT2 had it on its excellent strand KSpecial programme last night. And I was glad to see it. Not so much because of the film itself – which is one of those “look at this genius” programmes, where a lot of the celebrities, she had photographed was interviewed to tell us how brilliant she is. From Mick Jagger to Hillary Clinton – but because the film showed the development of a classic documentary photographer who started as an observer, who was inspired by Robert Frank and Cartier-Bresson, to end up as a set-up portrait photographer of celebrities.

Her sister made the film, that is most interesting when it describes the observational period at the cult magazine Rolling Stones where she made exceptionally good photos based on her close relationship with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and with the members of the Rolling Stones. But not only that, also a wide range of social issues was covered by Leibovitz, a daring character, as one says about her, a person who says that “mobility is my God – as long as I´m travelling I´m happy”, a person who was able to make herself unnoticed because she as a true documentarian stayed with her characters for a long time so they forgot she was there.

The film can be bought through Amazon.

More about the film:

USA, 2006, 83 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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