Friday, May 01, 2009

ARTY FARTY FRIDAY ~ Annie Leibovitz

This week, a look at one of our best known contemporary photographers, Annie Leibovitz. She's well known for portraits of "the beautiful people", the rich and famous, celebrities of the 20th and early 21st centuries. I guess one could say that she's the modern equivalent of the portrait painter, who throughout history, until the camera came upon the scene, were entrusted with the job of portraying the powerful and wealthy for posterity. Ms Leibovitz has flair though and originality, she sees past the obvious - a talent not often obvious in the work of portrait painters, however skilled they may have been.

Her work has regularly appeared in "the glossies" - such as Vanity Fair, and the "cool" such as Rolling Stone. She has several books to her name too, including "Women", published 1999 with an essay by her late lover of many years, author and philosopher Susan Sontag; and more recently, "A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005". Ms Leibovitz has also documented conflicts abroad, in Sarajevo and Rwanda, as well as the plight of battered women.

Annie Leibovitz was born on 2 October 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticutt. I can find no time of birth reported on-line, so have set the chart below for 12 noon.

Her chart is fairly well balanced but with a slight predominance of Air, and only Saturn in a mutable sign. This indicates an intellectual, direct and sure of her opinions, not necessarily stubborn, but certainly not wishy-washy or undecided. Her Sun, Mercury and Neptune conjoined in Libra (ruled by Venus, planet of the arts) could almost be said to be the trademark of a photographer, for Neptune, as well as being highly creative, rules film and photography.

It was reported at SF GATE , of "A Photographer's Life" -

"The guts of the book are the intimate, sometimes painful moments of Leibovitz's personal life: the birth of her first child, Sarah, when she was 51; her travels with Susan Sontag, the iconoclastic writer with whom she shared her life for 16 years; the renewal of her parents' wedding vows in 1992; her five siblings and exuberant, remarkably handsome extended family. The death of Sontag, at 71, in December 2004; the death of her father, Samuel, six weeks later; and the birth of Leibovitz's twins, Susan and Samuelle, by a surrogate mother in May 2005.

Nothing, it seems, was omitted, no detail was too personal to be recorded. We see Leibovitz, nude and pregnant and standing in profile -- an echo of her 1991 Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore. We see the birth of Sarah in October 2001 and the decline of Leibovitz's father. Disturbingly, the physical decay of Sontag, when cancer bloated and distorted her beyond recognition, is also recorded. We see Sontag dead, laid out in her coffin in a dress bought in Milan. When Leibovitz took those pictures, she
writes in her introduction, she was "in a trance." "

Ms Leibovitz's natal Moon would have been in Aquarius whatever her time of birth, and more than likely would have been in opposition to the Pluto/Mars conjunction in Leo, and square to Venus in Scorpio (Pluto's home domain). I'm wondering whether these aspects in any way reflect her sexual orientation. Maybe - or maybe not. I've read that sexual orientation is not usually reflected in the natal chart.

A quick look at the chart of Ms Leibovitz's close companion, Susan Sontag, reveals also an opposition to Pluto, this one from Capricorn Sun to Pluto in Cancer.

At first glance the two charts don't seem particularly compatible, Ms Sontag's being heavy on Capricorn and Virgo. Similarities come via natal Saturns. There's a touch of Aquarius from Moon in Leibovitz's chart and Saturn in Aquarius in Sontag's, but not close enough to be conjoined, even if Leibovitz were born in the first hour of 2 October, there'd still be 10 degrees between them. Leibovitz's Saturn, in Virgo, links to Sontag's Neptune and other planets in Virgo. Even so, compatibility isn't blindingly obvious from the astrology. They would certainly have been a formidable pair, taking into consideration their combined talents and intellencts. Perhaps their two ascendants are pieces of this jigsaw required to make the parts fit together.

Words of Annie Leibovitz, talking about computer photography, from an interesting interview for Foto Tapeta HERE:

"I personally don't like it, the work which is manipulated looks a little boring to me... I think life is pretty strange anyway ... It is wooo, wooo, wooo!... You don't have to sort of enhance reality. It is already pretty weird ... you know that there is nothing stranger than truth. "

More examples of Annie Leibovitz's work HERE.


Shawn Carson said...

both of these ladies' charts show strong artistic temperaments as they were born with Neptune conjunct the South Node,some 18 years apart.

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Ah yes - true enough!
That could well have been a bond between them.

I've often wondered whether people with the same nodal axis have much in common. I guess it could depend on whether the nodes conjoin any of their planets - as in this example.

Wisewebwoman said...

I just love her work, T. An awesome inspiring artist and very much her own woman.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Agreed! :-)