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Leibovitz cares.....

Annie Leibovitz is a photographic icon, and one for my time and my generation. If you care about photography, you have to acknowledge Annie's work as central to defining our society as it is today -- and that includes the superficiality of celebrity and pop culture, as much as the the more serious subject matter that runs through her entire portfolio. Through it all, her commitment to quality imagery and dedication to being a participant of the process, has rightfully gained her the stature she holds today as the quintessential photographer and trendsetter for her time. I found myself intrigued by this video, but not so much because of its content, but through the realization that I may never have the kind of resources, connections, experience (as a photographer), or access that she now has available to her for most anything she may want to shoot. No question she's earned it, but I feel at such a disadvantage. It's not that I aspire to acquire her level of notoriety, or even to have a wealth that would supply me with all those wonderful toys -- it's just that as someone who shares her sense of focus and desire as an artist (with lightyears for me to go in approaching her standard), I have the added challenge of not having the freedom to always shooting what I want to shoot, not being where I want to do it, or not having the time I need in which to do it. In fact, I'm betting an awful lot on just being good enough to make a living at it, finding creative incentive daily, and having the continued courage to pick myself up from my past career for something new that is truly, still largely, unknown to me -- at the age of 58. No, it's not male menopause, but a process I've skirted around professionally since I became an arts administrator 35 years ago. I've generally made a good living helping artists and communities connect with each other, but denied (or even recognized) my own ambitions as an artist, pursuing instead the safer more "practical" path as the coordinator of cultural activity from behind the scenes. Though being an arts administrator will still serve me well in preparing me for this journey, I have come to embrace the limitations of arts administration as being the oxymoron that it is. Once you "administer" art, you compromise it. As a photographer I still have to compromise by having to take real estate shots, commercial portraiture, pretty scenery for calendars as a means to provide for myself and my family. Now, at least, I can feel closer to a process that reaches out on a personal level towards something that is inherently more creative, unique and mine -- a better reflection of who I am and what I care about spiritually. It's clear that Leibovitz always had that, even as a celebrity of sorts, whether producing work commercially or personally -- it's still hers, and ours, at the same time.

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