Title of Project: “Deconstructing Gender: The Lens of Annie Leibovitz” & “Performing Gender”
Inspiration Behind the Project:
Since the 1970’s, celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has produced a genre of unconventional images depicting famous men and women that seem to unmask “femininity” and “masculinity” as being more performative than definitive. The feminist movement of the late 1960’s in America was born out of a growing dissatisfaction with cultural and political inequalities, and questioned the place of women in the culture’s power structure. While the movement focused mainly on such socio-political issues as equal pay for women, it also greatly influenced the art being produced at this time.
Whereas Leibovitz’s counterparts continued to create images that preserved gender ideology, her photographs presented a shift in perspective that stripped subjects of their social personas, and interrogated the idea of the self vs. gender. Leibovitz produced a new genre of imagery that not only deviated from the traditional characteristics deemed “appropriate” for men and women, but interrogated the idea of celebrity as commodity.