Annie Leibovitz Shoots a New Disney Campaign

Annie Leibovitz Shoots a New Disney Campaign

Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous photographers in the world and many know her as the photographer that shot the real life Disney scenes. Well this time Annie is at it again and for these 2 new shots actors Russel Brand, Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segel play 4 famous Disney Characters. Once again Annie's lighting combined with amazing post production has created a couple amazing shots.

via SLR Lounge

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"...combined with amazing post production..."

That's for sure.  What's the point of photography at all here as these could have been hand painted by a Disney artist and looked exactly the same.  They're already 90+ percent artist created.

John Godwin's picture

They should've hired you, Alfred. You'd have rocked that photoshoot. You'd have flown the entire crew to the cave instead of compositing. You'd have lit the inside of it using hundreds of lights, taking hours and days to get it perfect while the cast and crew waited for you. Then you'd have nailed it in one shot without having to run it through ANY editing software. Straight to the developers and straight to print.

It would've cost 50 times as much, but it would've been worth it just to not have to use photoshop.

Or, as he at least appears to suggest, use only Photoshop and it would have cost 50 times less.  I think that's the point he was trying to make.

John Godwin's picture

No he didn't, he's another person moaning because the photograph was heavily retouched.

The "point of photography here" is because it features four international celebrities, and regardless of the irony, people want to know it's the actual person in the picture. People don't care about what part of the world the rocks were shot in, and what part of the country someone composited them, they just want to know that the subject of the photograph is real.

I personally think for work like this, Annie gets way too much credit, but to suggest that this isn't photography or is somehow futile is just utterly stupid.

Those rocks look like some of the sea arches in Big Sur

i think you don´t get what he wanted to say. :)

I agree with you, John. Video games are 100% computers and they don't look anything close to realistic. And look at that shot of Brand... 2 lights and a reflector on a multi-million dollar photo series. 

You hire Annie Leibovitz for her vision throughout the project, and the way she interacts with her subjects. I'm sure Alfred is a better photographer than everyone on this thread and the rest of the Internet... 'cept I've never heard of him before and Disney didn't hire them, and them's the breaks.

they did not hire you either..... and i never heard of you.
does that makes you comment nonsense per se?

you can see equal stuff on deviantart or other sides.. done by noname artists with a fraction of the budget.
what could prove better that with so much photoshop work you don´t need a photographer like annie leibowitz to take the images?

disney hired annie so some people make a fuss about it and money does not matter for disney.
if you had seen these images without a headline you would think the same....

I know I'm being pedantic, but Captain Hook isn't really a Disney character. Yes, while they (Disney) may have brought him to "life" in at least one film, he is, however, a character by JM Barrie.

Doing something like this would be cool, though.

Niether is Cinderella, Snow White, Repunzle, Sleping Beauty, Beauy & the Beast, Pocohantas, Aladdin, Pinocchio, Alice (in Wonderland), Hercules....shall I go on? Many of these characters became "famous" to children because of Disney. Annie Leibovitz (and her team) is basing her images off the character portayals in Disney Films.

Erin Guest's picture

 Possibly the dumbest comment ever.

Saying that Captain Hook isn't a Disney character is like saying Kermit the frog isn't a muppet.

JM Barrie wrote Peter Pan. The Grim Bros and Hans Christian Andersen wrote 90% of the stories Disney have done animated films for too.

disney characters are donald, pluto, goofy, micky mouse, aristocats etc.
yes cinderella and co. are NOT disney characters.. believe it or not.

outside america people read the original storys.
I know it may be a suprise for americans. :)

maybe americans tend to think everything in a disney movie is a disney character... but that´s their fault.
i have painted some donald duck storys myself... but i would not be so bolt to say it´s a "tanja schulte" character.

Dumbest comment ever? What the hell?
How dare you claim part of another country's cultural history/icon as
your own.

My comment was somewhat tongue in
cheek, but you seem to have missed this and decided to be incredibly
rude. And perhaps a tad ignorant.

Captain Hook is a character from the
Peter Pan play(s) and series of stories written by British author JM
Barrie, the first of which dates from around 1902. Disney himself was
born in 1901, so he was only 1 year old at the time. Captain Hook
first appeared in the stage play, I believe, in 1904.

So, as I said, Captain Hook is not an
“original” character by Disney. In fact, his and the whole Peter
Pan “look” in the 1953 animated Disney film is based on
descriptions that already existed (as you'd expect anyway from
book/play adaptations) and that of a stereotypical pirate, so not
even that is “original”. Want proof? Just search for the 1924
“Peter Pan” film version on IMDB and take a look at the poster
art. That is just one example, Google further and you will find
illustrations going back even further.

Here in the UK, the Peter Pan and the
relevant characters are famous without Disney. It is still
part of our popular culture and many of us still go and see Peter Pan
in theatres every year, whether it's a proper play, or a pantomime
(in fact, I went and saw Peter Pan in a theatre just a few months

I am by no means trying to belittle
what Disney has done over the years, and the enjoyment his films have
brought us, especially as he brought Peter Pan and other stories to
wider audience, but you can't claim Hook and Peter Pan as being
wholly Disney's, not when it was an adaptation from existing work
that had already been around for 50 or so years.

FYI, Peter Pan is the *only* (I
believe) existing artwork (written or otherwise) that has a special
on-going and extended copyright in certain countries. The copyright
royalties go to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, in
London, to which the copyrights were gifted by JM Barrie in the

i see it like alfred.  that´s not so much PHOTOGRAPHY.. that´s PHOTOEDITING.

and im pretty sure you don´t need annie leibovitz to make the source images... to come to this endresult.
it´s the guy or woman at the wacom tablet who makes this work.

John Godwin's picture

Er, surely it's both?

Davis DeLo's picture

The croc's head prop and ghost makeup are done really well too.  I definitely agree that the actual photography is more of a quaternary component to the final image though.  You do have to account that Annie Leibovitz was probably a great choice due to her access to the highest level compositors, makeup artists and prop artists.  She is also very good at shooting big personalities.

In commercial photography the photographer is more like the Director and Cinematographer on a movie.  Of course they are only a part of creative element.  But they are an essential part.  A part that without them and their vision, the end product wouldn't be what it is.  Yes there are producers with a vision for the end result, yes there are makeup and post production workers.  Even the actors add their own amount of creativity to the shot.  Who do we recognize the most for creating the Lord of the Rings movies?  Isn't it the director?

So why would we demote the credit due to Annie.  She had the cohesive vision to bring all the elements together in front of the camera, and even in post.

Erin Guest's picture

 It's artwork that uses mixed media - oh which photography is a significant part because for some lighting scenarios it is EXTREMELY difficult to do in Photoshop. I can understand and see why she took the photos of Russell in the way that she did. The lighting is integral to the overall image.

Erin Guest's picture

 It's not so much photoediting as composite photography.  Yes, lots of post work to bring together one image out of several. It's still photography and it's still artistic.  I really wish people would get over this.

i have a friend who could paint that croc image in photoshop without a source photograph. he works a matte painter and sure don´t get the money annie leibovitz gets for such a shot.

imho they only took Annie L. for this shot because it creates some more media attention. some people will scream "wow" at any picture that has a prominent name under it.

the seconds image with the three figures is not even very well done.

still 60-70 % of the image "artistry" is done by the retoucher.
but what name do we read? the name of the famous photographer who took photos everyone could have taken. given that he as access to costumes and make-up artists.

Adam Cross's picture

if you can afford Annie Leibovitz then you hire Annie Leibovitz - I sure as hell would. I wouldn't hire anyone just to shoot some source images. I would want the best I could afford - and Disney can afford one of the best photographers currently working on this planet - yes, that would be Annie Leibovitz.

and as far as " who took photos everyone could have taken." is concerned - not everyone would have the vision that Annie has, not "everyone" could have taken these photos at all. You're completely wrong. =)

James Robertson's picture

Use whatever mediums you want to create a strong final image IMO, These could have been done in camera, they could have been done completely CGI, at the end of the day no one cares what went on behind the scenes and the artist can take whatever path they chose. Of course, the judgemental and always superior keyboard warrior photographers will bitch and moan about every decision that artist makes.

Erin Guest's picture

 EXACTLY. Thank you.

I think what other are getting at, and what I notice about these photos is that the locations they shot were "close" to what they were looking for in the final image, but in reality the actors were 100% cut out of the backgrounds and placed in a new one.  That would be most easily (and cheaply) accomplished in a studio where you could have perfect lighting for each set up.

The "excess" in these photos is using a well respected photographer, locations similar to what they're looking for in the final image -- when in all reality it would have been easier and much more cost effective to shoot this in a studio. I am sure that hundreds of pro photographers could have reproduced this shot in studio. 

Having said all of that, the post work is excellent.  The other thing to remember is that the "expenses" of this shoot are probably pocket change for a company as large as Disney.

Yes, Annie did a fine job shooting these images, but let's admit, that was about 30-40% of the end result. How about a little credit for the amazing retoucher(s), compositer(s), etc. who took these images to the finish line. I didn't see any mention of those names anywhere.

Jacques's picture

 Yes, as in making a post focusing on the retouchers and then in the credits, one can see Leibovitz' name.

Would you say that Peter Jackson was only 30-40% of the end result of Lord of the Rings?  Do we need to give credit on all the online articles about LOTR to each and every compositor, or even the cinematographer?  Annie has a clear vision for this image that reaches beyond just photographing a body that will get cut out.  Her hands are in post production as much as in makeup, wardrobe, props, etc.

At least, in the end of the LOTR movies, you have all the credits. In a campaign, only the photographer is highlighted. and Furthermore, the final product is more a computer art design than a photograph.

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

 I thought it is obvious that photography is a team work. It can be Annie Leibovitz or Studio ABCXYZ... Her name is more like a brand name of high quality end product.

Erin Guest's picture

 LOL  As a retoucher, if you had a tear sheet from a job with Annie, you'd never have trouble finding work again. 'Nuff said.

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