An old East London power station has recently played host to Annie Leibovitz’s latest exhibition. ‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ portrays some of the most influential women of the modern day, including the spheres of music, business and literature. It is currently touring 10 global cities in 12 months, including New York, Frankfurt and Singapore, with Tokyo as its next stop.
Leibovitz’s exhibition celebrates both physical and artistic prowess. This cross-over is encapsulated by her enchanting portrait of Misty Copeland, the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre's 75-year history. Leibovitz herself is a walking celebration of female achievement. Her prestigious standing in the artistic world is proven by the figures that she is able to shoot. Commenting upon her portrait of the Queen, Leibovitz exclaimed: “I can’t believe I had the opportunity to photograph [her]”. Other high profile women featured in the exhibition include Michelle Obama and Burmese stateswoman Aung San Suu Kyi.
Themes of diverse beauty and body confidence flow through these works. One of the most notable portraits is a shot of Caitlyn Jenner, whom Leibovitz captured last year for the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Caitlyn was the first transgender woman to grace the cover of Vanity Fair. The shot featured in WOMEN is Caitlyn off-duty and pensive on the Vanity Fair set, showing a more subdued side to the momentous occasion.
Such ideals are being portrayed straight from Leibovitz’s heart, as she explains: "It is extraordinary to do this work […] on a subject that I really care about. It is such a big undertaking and a broad subject. It is like going out and photographing the ocean." This personal commitment is clear from Annie’s self-portrait with her children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle. This shows that Annie’s portrayal of inspirational women is exhibited with the hopes of encouraging a new generation of women to aim high and be unapologetic in their achievements.
Certainly, Leibovitz’s work has inspired a new generation of photographers. Our most recent new photographer, Magdalena Wosinska, celebrates the female form through her series of nudes. It is thanks to photographers such as Leibovitz that such celebrations of female beauty is now a popular way to decorate one’s home, and a sought-after addition to photography collections.