My Bookshelf – Annie Leibovitz

In the “My Bookshelf” series, Better Moments founder Christian Nørgaard writes about photo books that have influenced him during his career.

Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990 | Photo of cover by C. Nørgaard

I don’t remember the first photo book I bought, but I do remember which books and photographers had the biggest impact on me in the past decades.

This year, I would like to share a selection of the books that have meant the most to me and have influenced my career as a photographer to some extent – some more, some less.

As a young aspiring photographer, I searched for a mentor, a photographer, or for that matter, an artist, who could not only inspire me but also help me develop my skills and find my own style. The first one I met, was Annie Leibovitz.


Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990 | Photo by C. Nørgaard

It’s all about the light

I was impressed and inspired by her ability to combine very simple portraits of people in their daily surroundings – whether they were celebrities or unknown people. Her lighting was – mostly – daylight from windows, open doors, or she simply shot in a garage. She focused on the person and did not let herself be distracted by advanced lighting.

This technique was ingenious since it did not require expenses for assistants and lamps. And, most importantly, all focus was on how to – literally – show the person in front of you in the best light.

I still use the same technique. For pretty much all my travel portraits I take advantage of the daylight and position my subjects in door frames, next to windows, or I shoot outside.


Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990 | Photo by C. Nørgaard

Books by Annie Leibovitz I recommend

Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1983, became one of the cornerstones of my library. I can also warmly recommend her book Annie Leibovitz At Work, it really is a must-have in any photographers book collection. And so is Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970 – 1990. If you are into portrait photography, Portraits 2005-2016 will be a nice addition to your bookshelf as well.

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