Work sample Media Production and Analysis Stage 2 Work sample

Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Work sample: Annie Leibovitz
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
Assessment type: Investigation
Performance associated with Grade A, representing excellent achievement.
Work sample summary
The student was asked to choose a photographer and investigate influences on the artist's style and content
through a series of photographs that reflected a particular time period and/or social issues.
The student discussed style and content in relation to:
• context and target audience
• codes and conventions
• messages
• dominant cultural values
• stereotypes and representations
• representations of people and issues.
2009/24110 PDF:2009/28933
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
Annie Leibovitz’s signature style can be explained through an understanding
of her life leading up to and during the time of her international fame. Annie
Leibovitz, born Anna-Lou Leibovitz in Westbury, Connecticut, 1949, has
always had artistic passions that were highlighted during her school years.
Her mother, Marilyn Leibovitz, also influenced her participation in artistic areas
as she was a modern-dance instructor and was the most prominent parent in
Annie Leibovitz’s childhood. Annie Leibovitz took many dance classes while
she was a child and has acknowledged this for her interest in taking
photographs of dancers and performers, which frequently appear in her
photographic essay, Women. Annie Leibovitz played guitar and wrote music
and was leader of the folksinging club during her school years. Her interest in
music may have been an incentive for her to apply for a job at Rolling Stone
magazine in 1970. In 1967 Leibovitz attended the San Francisco Art Institute
through her interest in painting. She only discovered photography while on
holiday to Japan with her mother when she bought a camera. As soon as she
returned, she enrolled in a night class in photography. Leibovitz stated, “I was
totally seduced by the wonderment of it all, to see something that afternoon
and have it materialize before your eyes that same day. There was a real
immediacy to it. I lived in the darkroom”. In 1970 one of Annie Leibovitz’s
friends encouraged her to take her photographs to Rolling Stone magazine in
San Francisco. The new magazine about rock music hired Leibovitz and gave
her assignments while she was still studying at college. By 1973 she was the
chief photographer of Rolling Stone and took many famous photographs over
her ten year stay with the magazine, her most famous of John Lennon and
Yoko Ono two hours before Lennon was murdered outside his New York
apartment. While on tour with the Rolling Stones, Leibovitz herself began to
use cocaine as she began to reach fame status. This may be what influenced
Leibovitz to photograph images that reflected the pop culture at the time.
Leibovitz’s signature style with brilliant colour was self taught as she had only
ever been taught about black and white photography. Throughout her time at
Rolling Stone magazine Leibovitz photographed many people who embodied
pop culture fame, such as Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Allen,
Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Leibovitz began to
photograph celebrities doing silly things that reflected their personality rather
than just taking portraits of her subjects. This style of photography is
responsible for her fame. Leibovitz believes that another reason for her
success was her research that she undertook before photographing her
subjects, this consisted reading their poetry or books, seeing their
performances or movies and if possible, view their daily lifestyle. Leibovitz’s
photographs of celebrities, “exaggerates the distinctive characteristics of (the
celebrities’) public image in a way that’s funny and deflating,” according to
Andy Gruberg. In 1983 Leibovitz left Rolling Stone magazine and shortly after
became chief photographer at Vanity Fair magazine where she photographed
many more celebrities. Leibovitz’s images are known to reveal a lot about her
subject and through her brilliant lighting and often confronting poses and
elements, Leibovitz has captured the essence of culture within society. In her
photographic essay, Women, Leibovitz aimed to show women who were not
conforming to gender roles and to portray the power, confidence and success
that women can achieve.
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Identifies factors that
influence Leibovitz's style.
Makes connections
between the cultural
context and Leibovitz's
Discusses elements of
Leibovitz's style.
Makes a clear connection
between the text and
cultural context. Identifies
the aim of the photographic
essay - to challenge
patriarchal ideology and
change attitudes toward
Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
Context and Target Audience
Annie Leibovitz’s photographic essay, Women, featured a variety of women
with different lifestyles. Her photographs are designed to encourage women
to achieve highly in whatever they desire. Her photographs essay challenges
patriarchal ideologies and values and shows images of women who are
successful in various fields. Leibovitz’s book, Women, features Hilary Clinton
at the White House. In this photograph, Hilary Clinton appears to be welldressed and her body language suggests that she is proper and important.
The image shows a lot of the large building around her which makes her seem
smaller and inferior. This conveys the message that women can be just as
powerful as men and that women should not feel inept or inferior to men.
Leibovitz’s images show the social and cultural changes and growth,
predominantly in Western society. It shows how women have broken the
moulds that see them as housewives and carers for their husbands. Her
images show women as astronauts, soldiers and mountain bikers. The target
audience of Annie Leibovitz’s photographic essay Women, is predominantly
women. Her photographs are directed at women as they show the changes in
beliefs and values in society that have made it acceptable for women to excel
in fields that are stereotypically designed for men. Her photographic essay
could also be targeted at men, showing them that society has changed and
women are now just as powerful. Leibovitz’s images are not targeting female
audiences from a certain race or economical status as her photographs
include women from different races, religions and backgrounds. Although
many of Leibovitz’s photographs are of people who embody power and
success as women, she also includes images of women who are victims of
domestic violence. Although the images are confronting, they create a sense
of power as how, even though these women have been assaulted and broken
physically they are still powerful enough mentally and emotionally to show
their faces and allow themselves to be photographed. These photographs
show the strength in which these women embody.
Clearly connects
Leibovitz's photos to
cultural ideologies based
around the respect and
empowerment of women.
Codes and Conventions
As Annie Leibovitz’s book, Women, predominantly consists of photographs
there are very few written codes within the text. There are many technical and
symbolic codes in her photographs that help to emphasise her intended
message that show women as powerful and breaking out of stereotypical
gender roles and responsibilities in society.
Annie Leibovitz’s images use a variety of different camera angles to convey
certain messages and create different responses from the audience. For
example, her photograph of Chamique Holdsclaw, a female basketballer on
page 190 of her book, Women, she uses a slight low camera angle which
makes Chamique Holdsclaw, the subject, seem more superior and powerful.
This camera angle is effective in supporting her intended message about
women. The framing of Leibovitz’s photographs in her photographic essay,
Women, seem to have contributed to her style of photography. Many of her
images feature the subject off-centre, following the rule of thirds, allowing the
audience to view the environment or setting of that particular image. Although
this sort of framing is frequent in her photographs that were taken on location,
the majority of images that were taken in a studio feature the subject in the
centre of the photograph.
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
Leibovitz rarely uses long shots as they would be unable to distinguish the
women in the photograph. She often uses mid-long shots that allow the
audience to view the subjects body language and facial expression and also
include the setting/environment. Leibovitz uses many mid-shots and closeups especially in her photographs that were taken in studios, so that the
audience can see the facial expressions and emotions of the subjects. Many
of Leibovitz’s images experimented with depth of field, mainly the images that
were taken outdoors. These images have shallow depth of fields as they
show the women in the foreground in focus and the background of out of
focus. This is constructed to make the women seem important as everything
else is out of focus. This is constructed to make the women seem important
as everything else is out of focus and the ground out of focus. The image of
Jorie Graham on page 50 of the book, Women, shows Jorie Graham, a poet,
on a New York sidewalk in focus in the foreground, with the background out of
focus. This image has used a shallow depth of field that may have been
accompanied by a slow shutter speed to create the effect of the photograph.
This image creates a focus and sense of importance towards Jorie Graham as
the background is out of focus. Annie Leibovitz’s use of lighting changes
depending on where the photographs were taken. Her studio photography
was accompanied by a light such as the Ellinchrom Octabank, which is a large
diffused flash. On location Leibovitz brings a lighting kit so that her images
can produce her signature glow that is reflected in the subject. Although in
some of her photographs it is clear that she relied on natural lighting for the
image. Leibovitz uses juxtaposition through the format in which her images
were presented in the book. On pages 132 and 133 there are two images that
juxtapose each other. The first image is of Sidney Silver a bass player. Her
photograph is in black and white ad she is heavily tattooed and her black,
spikey hair stands out because of the contrast with her white top. The image
next to it is of Penelope Tuesdae a go-go dancer, singer and nightclubber.
Although her photograph is in colour it predominantly consists of black and
white, a the lighting makes her white-blonde hair and skin seem very white
and her jacket is black. The main colour in this image are her blue eyes and
red lipstick. These images juxtapose each other through the colours used and
representation of the people. Another way in which Leibovitz used
juxtaposition in her photography was by taking photographs of showgirls in
Las Vega before and after they were in their costumes. These images are
particularly intriguing to the audience as it shows the subject in a different
point of view, for example, one of the showgirls Narelle Brennan is
photographed with her children. The emotion and representation of her in this
photograph juxtaposes to the way in which the audience would respond to the
picture of her in her showgirl costume. The images of Susan McNamara,
another showgirl, also uses juxtaposition effectively. The image of her without
her showgirl costume shows a very conservative, reserved looking woman
which contrasts with the bold image of her in her showgirl costume.
Briefly analyses the use of
technical codes to
construct a specific
Identifies the use of closeup to connect with the
emotions of the audience.
Explores the construction
of juxtaposition in the
creation of two viewpoints before and after costuming.
Leibovitz’s images also use a variety of symbolic codes. The settings in her
photographs are used to reflect the subject or their lifestyle, for example, the
image of Alison Estabrook, a breast cancer surgeon was taken in an
operating room at Luke’-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. The body
language of her subjects are also used to represent their personality of
lifestyle. For example, the image of Linda Murray, Miss Olympia 1990-1995,
shows her in a bathing suit, tensing her muscles in a very powerful stance.
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
This is reflective of the subject’s personality. The clothing in the images are
used to represent the subject in the image, this was shown by Annie Leibovitz
mainly photographing people in their working environment, e.g. police officer
in uniform. Annie Leibovitz used both black and white photography and colour
photography to alter the meaning of the images. The images that are in black
and white portray a more classical emotion, many of the photographs of
dancers and performers were produced in black and white as they reflect the
elegance of the women.
The message that Annie Liebovitz aimed to portray through her photographic
essay, Women, was to show that changes have occurred during the growth
and development of western society and that the previous notions about
women and their place in society no longer exist. Annie Leibovitz’s intended
message was to show the empowerment of women, who now have the
opportunity and right to excel in ways that they have been restricted in the
past. The majority of her images show women participating in events and
occupations that they have in the past, been stereotypically related to men.
Some of her images are of very famous people who have made differences to
the cultural growth and acceptance of women in society, proving that women
are just as powerful and competent as men. Annie Leibovitz’s images are
evidence of society’s changing values and attitudes, and as a successful
women herself, Leibovitz has proved that women can excel at anything that
men have been known to excel at, and that with the opportunity to participate
in areas and fields that have been in the past, only acceptable for men,
women can achieve to the same ability as men. Annie Leibovitz’s
photographic essay is sending the message that gender equality should exist
within society.
Discusses the cyclical
nature of media and
society. Notes that the
photos reflect changing
values in society.
Dominant Cultural Values
Annie Leibovitz’s photographic essay, Women, touches on a variety of issues
within society. Her photographic essay features images of women from
religions that are often treated as minorities in western civilisation and area
treated with racial and religious prejudice. She challenges racial and religious
prejudice within society through images such as, on page 49, of Lamis Srour
and Islamic teacher. Liebovitz has represented Lamis Srour as a beautiful
woman, which challenges the prejudice that a lot of people within the western
world have towards Islamic or Muslim people. Liebovitz also created a
positive representation of Dorothy A. Richman, a Rabbinical student, through
her photography. Dorothy A. Richman is represented as beautiful and
intelligent, this challenges anti-sematic values that exist within society. Annie
Leibovitz also challenged racial prejudice and racism by representing AfricanAmerican women in positive lights. Annie Leibovitz’s images also challenged
cultural beliefs and values that people have, who believe that people with
lower-socio-economic status are less important in society. These notions
were challenged by Leibovitz photographing women from all backgrounds and
lifestyles and representing them all as equals. Leibovitz challenged society’s
dominant values that oppose homosexual marriage and parenting. Leibovitz
challenged this through her image of Melissa Etheridge, Julie Cypher and
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
their chidren. Julie Cypher and their children. In this image Melissa
Etheridge and Julie Cypher are represented as caring, loving and adequate
parents, with a functioning, happy family unit. This challenges values within
society that homosexual parents are not the ideal way in which to raise
Stereotypes and Representations
Although Annie Leibovitz’s intended message was to represent women out of
the stereotypical roles and responsibilities, her photographic essay, Women,
still included women in stereotypical gender roles. The images that show
women in stereotypical gender roles were ones of women as waitresses and
aids. But the majority of Leibovitz’s images have representations of women
who have contributed to the change in gender equality, and that are taking
over careers that have stereotypically been targeted for men. The majority of
Leibovitz’s images within this photographic essay represent women as
powerful, successful and determined. The women are represented as
courageous and strong, as to excel in some of the fields that the women within
the photographic essay, have succeeded in, they would have been confronted
with a lot of criticism as not all people in society would have welcomed the
growing equality between women and men. The way in which Annie Leibovitz
represented the women in her photography, was by capturing the essence of
the woman and portraying that through her images. Leibovitz represented the
women in her photographs as beautiful. This can be related to the women
who persist and believe in themselves and following their desires as having
beautiful qualities. Leibovitz achieved this through her use of technical and
symbolic codes and conventions.
Representations of People and Issues
The women in Annie Leibovitz’s photographic essay, Women, are all
represented in positive lights. Annie Leibovitz’s photographs also constructed
representations of issues within society. Her images of victims of domestic
violence created a negative feeling towards the issue, as the audience were
situated to see the confronting effects of domestic violence and immediately
sympathise with the women. These graphic close-ups of the women create a
response from the audience that was intended by Leibovtiz, that domestic
violence is wrong and should not be accepted within out society. Annie
Leibovitz’s image of Melissa Etheridge, Julie Cypher and their children, Bailey
and Beckett Cypheridge create a positive representation of families with
homosexual parents. Many people within society believe that bringing up
children by homosexual parents has a negative effect on the children,
although no studies have yet provide this theory. Leibovitz has represented
Melissa Etheridge, Julie Cypher and their children as a happy family and just
as functional as a family with heterosexual parents. This image shows the
audience a positive representation of homosexual families in society and will
maybe help in changing the dominant homophobic attitudes within western
society. Although Annie Leibovitz’s images touch on a variety of issues such
as racism and religious prejudice, as previously mentioned, the main issue in
which Liebovitz has created representations of, is gender equality. Her
images of powerful, successful women, show how women need to be
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Analyses the use of closeup to connect to the
Work sample
Media Production and Analysis
Stage 2
Grades are allocated at the end of a unit or
semester based on the rank order of
students. Grades should not be allocated
to individual assessments.
completely accepted within society because they have capabilities that have
been denied the opportunity to be proven, until the feminist movement in the
Media Production and Analysis: Stage 2 Grade A Work sample
Makes a connection to the
feminist movement as an
important influence on the