Women: New Portraits By Annie Leibovitz

Raw, powerful, and unfinished is Annie Leibovitz’s latest exhibition. It’s a must-go.

Annie Leibovitz needs no introduction. After all, the 66-year-old American photographer – whose photographs has graced the covers of Vanity Fair and Rolling Stones umpteenth times – is possibly as renowned as the countless number of politicians, celebrities and popular figures she has photographed over the past four decades. First published as part of the 1999 book project ‘WOMEN’, the new exhibition showcases new additions to the project and reflects changes in the roles of women today.

Singapore is the fourth stopover in Leibovitz’s 10-city international exhibition tour (We are so fortunate!). The exhibition was in the words of Leibovitz, ‘anti-museum’ as evident from the choice of venue (Tanjong Pagar Railway Station) and also features photos of high-achieving women such as Nobel Prize winner and activist Malala Yousafzai, Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi, and activist Gloria Steinem.

PHOTO: ubs.com

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Leibovitz was not shy to call her exhibition a “work-in-progress just like all women are” (ST, 30 April 2016). It is easy to see why. Don’t expect to walk into an exhibition space all jazzed up like her previous exhibition held at the ArtScience Museum in 2014 – because it isn’t. The main exhibition hall consists of just a dozen LED TVs and less than a dozen display panels featuring her new photos.In two adjacent rooms, visitors can also view Leibovitz’s personal collection of books featuring her own photographs as well as those by other critically acclaimed photographers.

I made my way to the exhibition on the opening day with high hopes of meeting Leibovitz in-person but was told that she had already made her way to Hong Kong – oh bummer! What I really like about the exhibition was its raw, unpretentious and unfinished presentation. Even the portraits taken were of these high-achieving women in their natural setting – a step away from the glamourous shots Leibovitz is known for. What is left is the silent confidence and power of the women immortalised in photo.

PHOTO: theguardian.com | Malala Yousafzai taken by Annie Leibovitz and part of the WOMEN series.

PHOTO: pinterest.com | Aung San Suu Kyi taken by Annie Leibovitz and part of the WOMEN series.

PHOTO: racked.com | John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken by Annie Leibovitz for Rolling Stone on the day Lennon was shot.

PHOTO: vanityfair.com | Demi Moore, taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair 1991 before everybody started copying this idea.

Visitors also have the opportunity to flip through Leibovitz’s US$2,500 Sumo-sized book containing photos from her illustrious 4-decade career. I flipped through all 476 pages of it. It was awesome.

To some, Leibovitz may simply be photographing and documenting famous personalities. But in my opinion she is every bit of a personality, and even an artist if I can put it that way. The exhibition is free and I highly recommend everyone to check it out. Leave your DSLRs at home though, photographing the photos are not allowed with the exception of camera phones.

But if anything, this exhibition is far from complete. I look forward to Leibovitz’s additions of new women at the next exhibition in the coming decade. RW

WOMEN: New Portraits Annie Leibovitz

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Opens 29 April to 22 May 2016

Annie Leibovitz’s most enduringly popular series of photographs ‘WOMEN’ was published in 1999. The new exhibition WOMEN: New Portraits reflects the changes in the roles of women today. In addition to the new photographs, the exhibition includes work from the original series as well as other photographs taken since.

Ticket Pricing: Free

Web Link: WOMEN: New Portraits Annie Leibovitz

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