I usually respect Annie Leibovitz for her work. I read Vanity Fair regularly, and Leibovitz' pictures are always worth some attention. I'm not exactly overwhelmed by her style, her compositions or her lighting skills. My guess is that most skilled professionals would be able to do a lot of what Leibovitz does, if they had the resources that she has. But she sure does a decent job of most assignments given to her.
So much more my wonderment over her shots for the Lavazza Calendar 2009. The pictures were brought to my attention by Michael Johnston on The Online Photographer, who rightfully declared one of the images (and not the one above!) the worst photograph ever made. I guess he has seen the whole calendar, which makes me wonder why he didn't appoint all the images worse than bad. Since his post the word has been spreading, and a lot of bloggers have followed troop in the declaration. And I'm one of them now.
Look at the picture above: spaghetti, nude, landscape and an empty espresso cup. C'mon now!
It's hard to see what made a respected photographer like Leibovitz do these images. Maybe a crappy assignment, an art director gone haywire, deliberate bad taste or just an attempt a irony or tongue in cheek. An attempt I write, because if this is irony, it's not working. It's just too serious, too pompous and too... well, utterly tasteless. The story here, doesn't shed much light on it.
Now, David Lachapelle has pulled some amazing stunts in his career, irony as thick as it comes. Jeff Koons has managed a few tricks and plenty other artists and photographers have produced works, which were so tasteless and exaggerated that it was almost tasteful.
The Lavazza calendar is just ridiculous – with added espresso cups. Honestly, Annie!