Design, Photography, & Fashion

The Evolution of a Photographer

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 11:29 min

Learn how Annie’s artistic journey impacted her evolution as a photographer—from the inspiration of family photos to the San Francisco Art Institute and Rolling Stone. *Lessons marked with an asterisk contain images with nudity.

Play
Annie Leibovitz
Teaches Photography
Annie brings you into her studio and onto her shoots to teach you everything she knows about portraiture and telling stories through images.
Get All-Access

The Art Of The Photo

Annie Leibovitz was the first woman to be named chief photographer at Rolling Stone and the last person to take a portrait of John Lennon. In her first online photography class, Annie shows us that what makes a picture stunning isn’t the gear or technology—it’s the story. Annie teaches you her philosophy: how to develop concepts, work with subjects, shoot with natural light, and bring images to life in post-production. See the world through her eyes.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

The 'softer' photography side of how to see, the attitude to have, and Annie's overall philosophy was wonderful and refreshing.

By far the best masterclass. We were given real insights. Had more of a feel of a documentary. Shown actual footage of the master at work, unlike the other ones. Highly enjoyable and informative. Also strangely moving. Thank you very much. Appreciated greatly.

I love listening to Annie talk about her approaches and techniques. Though her work is astounding, she makes it all sound very simple and reachable!

What a wonderful teacher. So giving and honest. So, she did become the artist that she was told you'd have to be before you can teach.


Comments

A fellow student

So in general, this masterclass, was pretty disappointing. Nothing new I’ve personally learned. It’s always interesting to hear Annie talk. But honestly, the masterclass itself doesn’t go deeper than the « surface -

Maham K.

The first two links in ch. 15--on the brief history of the camera-- are not working. Can someone update this? They both lead here: https://library.harvard.edu/sites/all/themes/HarvardLibraryPortalTheme/timeline/index.html?_branch_match_id=687411608952571776

Mikel

Annie is a very interesting teacher and subject. Personally, I just wish the rest of the course had shared more of what Annie can singularly give (vs. general photography). And I liked the last chapter the most: "The Evolution of a Photographer". In which she actually shares her valuable insight.

A fellow student

I LOVED the classes and have learned so much. You've made me question myself on how I look at things when I'm taking photographs. |I began taking photos on my (late) Mother's old Brownie camera & over the years we progressed to better (but not fancy) cameras. I began to lose my vision when I was 32 and had to stop doing photography as I couldn't see through the view finder. A few years ago I started looking at digital cameras and decided I could use one of them so I bought a beginners Kodak and literally wore it out on a trip to Ireland! I've got a much better digital camera now and when I moved to the UK I started getting back into photography. I also use my mobile phone for photography and have taken some pretty decent photos. I took a beginner's photography night class & really loved it. I was fairly shocked when my instructors were critiquing my photos and saying how great they were. When I saw this class I knew I had to take it as I've followed Annie's work for decades. Thank you so very much for teaching me!!

Mathias F.

I started to take photographs with my mobile when I was 18, pushed by pure curiosity and impulse of capturing friends in candid moments. So much excitement before and after those clicks. Over the years, I bought cameras, got paid assignments here and there - without any intention of becoming a professional - and somehow ended up making a living on commercial photography whilst trying to become a filmmaker. But whilst I learned and mastered technicalities, I replaced the joy and excitment that drove me into photography with external approvals based on average standards, and financial remuneration. Not long ago, I looked into my portfolio: all pictures correctly balanced, lit, composed, edited. All "good" photos. And almost none of them feels as exciting as those 'bad' ones I was taking when I first started. Believe me, that's the ultimate horror feeling. And I'm glad I had it: the moment after, I throw myself back into the sort of photography I feel driven to, forgetting about the next piece of kit to buy, commercial clients, and simply started to rebuild my career from scratch, following only the excitement of ideas. I feel finally proud of calling myself a photographer, in spite of having been a 'professional' for years. Imprint each word Annie says, especially in this last class. There are enough blogs, magazines and online stuff to teach techniques and share camera descriptions. There are just not enough masters talking about Photography and the love for the art.

MengChun T.

Her photography are so distinguished, that knows how she think, how we can learn different, that is so helpful. I pickup my camera again, I have direction now can practice, otherwise, I was feel so disappointed that I think I can't take a good pic. Thank you :)

Conrado G.

I did not like the class... I read the other comments and I was surprise that a lot of people said that "it is very inspiring"... but as the title of this Masterclass suggest, this is about teaching something and not inspiring something.

Steve H.

I found it interesting that the Masterclass closed with the photographic evolution of Annie Leibowitz. I think that it was serendipitous that she was studying at the San Francisco Art Institute when Rolling Stone was in its infancy coupled with all of the turmoil of the 1960's. What an amazing launch for what has become an amazing journey.

A fellow student

I read with surprise the negative comments about this course complaining that it didn't teach the technical nuts and bolts of photography. The first clue about what this course is about is in the title of the website. This is a "Master Class." If you are new to photography looking for a discussion about f stops, exposure and focal length then this is NOT the course for you. If you are looking for discussions beyond the basics of pointing a camera and getting an acceptable image then this course will offer insights into the process of an iconic portrait photographer and a peek behind the curtain of what goes into making some of those iconic images.

michael W.

No doubt that she is a fantastic photographer but I found her class not helpful. A lot of talking without substance. There were some good assignments but she is a great example of just because someone is excellent in their field does not make them a good teacher. Anne Leibotiz is not a good teacher. I really didn't learn anything I already didn't know.