Again, just to clarify, this is not a paid / sponsored post. I’m just a huge fan of Masterclass and of Annie Leibovitz. The class has been getting a lot of hate, so I thought I’d chime in with my non-hate two bits. For context, my first Masterclass was Werner Herzog. And that one follows pretty much the same format – Werner is not teaching anyone how to make a film – he’s teaching you more about himself and the process / concepts / broad strokes of how he did it. Same with Annie. I mean, I think it’s kinda screwed up if you expect someone of Annie’s caliber to teach you how to take a fucking picture. I would’ve liked to know more about how she got hired for gigs etc – but then she worked at Rolling Stone for so long and made her mark there that I think it was natural for more similar work to come her way. She sounds like a prolific photographed – at least in her early years. This was my first dig into anything behind-the-scenes with Annie Leibovitz, so I’m completely and properly stoked. If you’ve read her book, this class might feel like a damp squib, I can see that.

There was SO much she said that I could relate to. She a non-technical photographer, so am I – she doesn’t think equipment is THE most important thing, neither do I. Etc. It gave me a renewed sense of purpose with my own photography. Goddamnit I wanted to get out and photograph the moment the class ended! I want that fire back and Annie’s class helped me get a bit of that. She talks very slow though – but then that’s a personal quirk in my very personal opinion. Just like she can’t possibly be everyone’s favorite photographer, her “class” isn’t meant for everyone. And it isn’t really a “class” if you looked at the dictionary definition. A “masterclass” is a class given by an expert to a set of highly talented students. If you’re still wondering whether you’re talented or not, maybe this class isn’t for you?

There’s one very short section toward the end where you see Annie making a picture. That was great insight too. I paused the video many times to see her shooting stance, the lens she was using, what her assistants were doing etc. That one frame is educational. It’s about seeing and hearing many things and then trying them out and then picking what works best for you.

Definitely left me wanting more! It’s the only online class Annie Leibovitz has ever done, so that’s a big deal in itself.

The other class I mention in the video is CreativeLive – again, not for everyone – but it’s a fantastic resource if you’re starting out as a photographer and wondering where the hell to begin. They address everything from branding, stationery, developing your style, running your business, pricing, dealing with clients, etc. Those are extensive 2-5 day courses. Masterclass is not that. Annie Leibovitz on CreativeLive would be fucking insane. Probably the only 5-day class I would take.

I’m off to buy books about Annie Leibovitz. Will be re-watching the class soon. I’m on Masterclass’ annual subscription of $180 that allows me to watch any of their classes, anytime I want.

Here’s an in-depth review by OnPortraits, which will give you unbiased details about the Annie Leibovitz Masterclass.

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