Friday, July 31, 2009

Now and then an advertising photograph just about rises to the level of art

And when it does, chances are you'll find it was taken by Annie Leibovitz. I couldn't care less about the bag, but I love her image of the old astronauts (Sally Ride, 58; Buzz Aldrin, 79; Jim Lovell, 81). A nice tribute to the anniversary of the first moon landing, one that beautifully captures their excitement about the adventure, a sense of wonder that has never faded. Swap the pickup truck for a sailboat, and the astronauts could be Ulysses and his friends, evoked by these lines from Tennyson's poem about the aging wanderer.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
More here about this series of Annie Leibovitz photographs for Louis Vuitton. View large on black.

Update: Right after posting this, I started reading the stories about Annie Leibovitz and her disastrous financial situation. The free-wheeling, free-spending Leibovitz is in danger of going bankrupt and losing not only her houses but also the rights to her past and even future work to creditors. The blog (Notes on) Politics, Theory & Photography has links to, as well as an interesting take on New York Times coverage of, the story here. It's also a cool blog.

1 comment:

Bud, Lord Diablo said...

Your picture supercedes the original by photo-shopping in the knarled, knotted, veiny hand tremulously gripping the photograph. One imagines the hand attached to someone who remembers not only Apollo 11 but the Spirit of St Louis--if not Kitty Hawk. Another layer of meaning!

I love "Ulysses" and am always glad to encounter lines from that poem.