Annie Leibovitz and The Queen of England

BBC One is a television station in Great Brittan. The Brits love tabloids, I mean, they really love them. Even the normal newspapers have regular gossip sections and nudie photos. So anything that is scandalous is what sells. Throw in the Royal Family, and whamo!, big bucks. So BBC One was running a teaser that showed an unhappy Queen Elisabeth storming out of a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz. It seems Annie asked the Queen to remove her crown for a photo or two and the Queen was not amused. That was the tease.
“The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused.”
This image is not by Annie Leibovits. It’s a frame captured from the video of a documentary that will air later this year on BBC One. The Queen doesn’t look too happy here, does she? Oh wait, when does the Queen ever look too happy?
Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon have always confused me. Their most famous works are some of the least artistic or beautiful portraits ever taken. They both went through long phases were they took someone and stood them against a white wall. Then they seem to have told them a boring story to get a drab expression on their faces. There is also the odd fact that as they aged, Richard looked more and more like a woman, which Annie looks more and more like a man. Hmm.
Richard Avedon died in 2004 and left behind some very interesting images, many of them what could be called ‘mug shots.’ Annie is still with us and still making interesting images.
But the last few stories I have seen about Leibovits are not about her images, but how she takes them. She is now at that point in her career where the fact that she is still alive and working is the story. She was featured on CBS’s brilliant Sunday Morning not too long ago. She was on PBS’s American Masters. She has a zillion Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair covers to her name. So what is she up to now? Her neck in hot water? Well, not really.
The real story is that the Queen took off her crown and posed as she was directed. One of the wonders of being a photographer is that you can tell people to do things and they will actually do them. Even the Queen.
But that isn’t very interesting, is it? Who would want to tune in at eleven to see which restaurant got good marks from the Health Dept? No, we want to see the restaurants that flunked their inspections, repeatedly. If you can toss in a couple of rats scurrying around the kitchen that would be even better.
Watching the Today Show this morning they reported the Queen is Not Amused story and showed the video of the Queen walking down a hallway, apparently in a huff. Grey’s Anatomy is great at this kind of editing, watching the teaser you are sure that all the main characters will be dead before the end credits roll, but somehow, it is always someone else that gets blown to bits.
It must do the Queen’s heart good to know so many people care if she wants to wear her crown or not.
Annie, good to have you still alive and clicking.

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

Latest posts by Jon Herrera (see all)

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.

Posted in anne leibovitz, avedon, BBC, photoshoot, queen of england

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