Review: Annie Leibovitz's Women Of The World Is All Gloss, No Insight

Annie Leibovitz - Women: New Portraits. The Wapping Project ★★☆☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 35 months ago
Review: Annie Leibovitz's Women Of The World Is All Gloss, No Insight Annie Leibovitz - Women: New Portraits. The Wapping Project 2
Annie Leibovitz standing before her wall of women. © Peter Macdiarmid

Annie Leibovitz's latest project — Women: New Portraits — is all about photographing women. Inspiring women, successful women, well-known women — and those who fall into all three categories.

It's impressive that Leibovitz was able to capture this who's who — from the Queen and Aung San Suu Kyi through to Adele and Taylor Swift. They're fantastically composed shots too. But there's something bugging us: everything feels very glossy.

A great portrait offers insight into a person's life; here it's more a case of "Look! This is someone famous!" Though the women pictured are deserving of recognition, we want to see something beyond the public face. All we get here is superficial fodder for magazine covers.

And then there's the venue. The Wapping Project's industrial interior is a stark contrast to Leibovitz's style, and the work is made even more ineffectual by its incongruous setting.

While we may not be fans of this show, the queues tell a different story and at peak time there's a one in, one out policy. Weekend visitors, you have been warned.

Annie Leibovitz - Women: New Portraits is at Wapping hydraulic power station, Wapping Wall, E1W 3SL until 7 February. Entrance is free and the exhibition is open seven days a week.

Last Updated 19 January 2016

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