Annie Leibovitz: Disney Photographs

ImageThroughout 1970 to 1983, Annie Leibovitz has created portrait photography which has “distinguished her above and beyond” other fashion photographers over a thirty year period. Presently, Annie Leibovitz has partnered her talent with the iconic family brand Disney. Creating photographs including famous celebrity icons in the form of lovable disney characters including sleeping beauty, snow white, cinderella and captain jack sparrow, Leibovitz uses the classic characters and their stories to attempt to recreate these animated classics into real life situations. Named “Disney Dream Portraits” and created for the infamous Disney Park Resorts, this selection of photographs sees a cast assembled of numerous faces iconic to the audience of the brand, the audience includes Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Penelope Cruz and Alec Baldwin. The cast have been picked carefully in order to portray the characters in the photographs as life like versions of the childhood classics. Retrieving mixed reviews, these images aim to communicate with the audience in an attempt to attract them to the park and the brand. By using famous icons to younger and older audiencesImage today I can understand why they are been cerated in this way. However, a huge Disney fan myself, I find some of the images less attractive an appealing than others. For instance, the Cinderella photograph portrays a duplication of the original character and can clearly be identified as this iconic female. On the other hand character photographs such as Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland, I find do not portray the classic characters loved by many across the globe, they use celebrities which have huge differences in appearance and do not use a scene perfected for the photograph linking back to the originals. The photoshop edits have been described as “obvious” rather than being hard to see. Due to the poor editing many found it less attractive or appealing, I found some of the photographs created very appealing and fairy tale like however others produced very common and non ‘magical’ scenes which the company they are created for has always worked hard to produce. In a lot of the photographs Leibovitz has failed to use iconic of Imagerelevant costumes, celebrities that suit the scene of classic character failing to achieve the concept of the work. For instance the Little Mermaid villain photograph has a perfect background and scene however uses a celebrity as the character which has a completely different personality and appearance. The colours used and the Fairy tale styled scene exhibited in each image clearly aims to connect with the audience in order to communicate the purpose of each piece. I find many of the images work well however they are overshadowed by the images which work less well. Some of the work has been described as a “Mess”, “dodgy” and have been “laughed out” in many reviews. The image that is used to portray an iconic scene from beauty and the beast for instance portrays a rather large age gap between the characters, an issue that would be relevant in society today however in the eyes of Disney would not have been relevant when the animated feature would have been created. For me, the characters used in the real life photographs ruin the scene which has unbelievably been cerated perfectly. This image in particular has been criticized greatly as being “tacky” and that it is “gorgeous in being un-Disney” a criticism clearly unwanted by the brand or photographer as it is completely different to what was initially wanted. However, in a complete change, Leibovitz has created a “successful” shot, the scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs despite being criticized for the choice of celebrity it does portray one of the most appealing and perfected pieces in relevance to its original character and story. Leibovitz has defended her work by announcing that the work was “emblematic of what happens when an agency and brand allow an artist the freedom of their craft” revealing that even the artists herself agrees the images fail to Imagedepict the iconically famous characters produced by Disney as they take their own direction away from the original themes. I understand how Leibovitz would want to create the images as her own however I feel as though she almost ruins the Disney brand in many of the photographs she has created. Even though I do admire many of these photographs, I admire them not in a way of that they work alongside Disney but how the scenes are set, I like the fairy tale style that they produce. I admire the photographs as photographs but not as ways to promote the brand. Communicating with the audience I can understand how these photographs would appeal to teenagers because of the celebrities used such as Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez however I fail to understand how they would appeal to the younger audiences that they once would, because of the real life photographs they take away from the overly loved animated style that disney is renowned for. I believe that these styles of images would be better suited as a photo shoot of a magazine rather than an actual promotion for this brand. I admire the photographs but cannot get away from the idea of the celebrities simply looking as if they are about to enter a fancy dress party. Every single element of these photographs ranging from the costumes, to the characters and scenes would have to have been depicted and chosen perfectly in order to attract the correct audience and portray the perfect style and mood because of the purpose of the collection. Overall these photographs have gained mixed reviews, from being named as “tacky” to contrasted comments on how “beautiful” they are it is obvious that many find these photographs as “amazing pieces of work” yet none admire them for their promotive work for the brand. One area of the work that I find extremely appealing is the layout of each image. Every element of each photograph from the character, to the scene it is used Imagewithin has been carefully chosen and prepared to create the best work possible. Overall I do admire this selection of work but preferably for the wrong reasons, I admire the photographer for her beautiful images, layout and scene.


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