Inside Vogue's June Cover Shoot With Annie Leibovitz

In the June 2012 issue of Vogue, photographer Annie Leibovitz had the amazing opportunity to photograph eight very talented US Olympic athletes alongside supermodel Karlie Kloss. Over the years, Annie has become known for her over-the-top sets and detailed lighting set-ups. In this behind the scenes look, she doesn't disappoint. In the end you'll notice most of the shots were composited together to get both Kloss and the athletes in the same image. Does the juxtaposition of the model and the athlete work for you? Obviously Vogue is about fashion, so I'm wondering why in some images the model look so much smaller than the athletes. In my humble opinion, it can detract from the fashion aspect. What do you think?

US Olympic Athletes : Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte and Serena Williams on the front cover of Vogue

US Olympic Athlete, Dwyane Wade and supermodel Karlie Kloss

US Olympic Athlete, Ryan Lochte and supermodel Karlie Kloss

US Olympic Athletes, Mike and Bob Bryan and supermodel Karlie Kloss

US Olympic Athlete, Ashton Eaton hurdling over supermodel Karlie Kloss

US Olympic Athlete, Ryan Lochte and supermodel Karlie Kloss

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Pixyst's picture

I think this is the superlative quality we have come to expect from Annie Liebovitz

Vladimir Byazrov's picture

this photo is terrible. I cannot image how dreadful it looks before  obviously heavy photoshop. those retouchers must have seen nightmares. 

Mike Kelley's picture

What photo is terrible? They all look pretty damn good to me.

Jaymes Poudrier's picture

I agree 100%. Concepts are interesting. I think that some of them are pretty ugly.
They are shot right, but the concepts fail in execution to me. The
swimming one over glass has giant distracting reflections. The last shot
looks like it's a behind the scenes shot all it's own, it's not a
complete idea. The hurdling one would be better if she were on an actual
hurdle. They are interesting for sure but they don't look complete to

Vladimir Byazrov's picture

Cover photo.
About looking good to you - you have your opinion too.

Jaron Schneider's picture

I kinda agree with Vlad, but the swimming one is my least favorite. I mean... she is a master, but i'm not feeling this shoot like I normally do with her stuff.

Albin's picture

(Apart from the tennis shot, which is even more stupid for being a cliche') the model in evening dress looks exactly as if her pixels were cut and pasted from some previous editorial that has nothing whatever to do with the athletes.  What's interesting is that Vogue bought this - may be the  beginning of the end of either the photographer or the mag, or both.

THE GREAT ZEEE's picture

no sure if this is her best work. im not to fond of thiese

She does it again.   

James Allan's picture

Certainly not indicative of Annies best work. :(  I think the concept could have worked but wasn't executed all that well.

The best of the shots IMO is the basketball one.  Unfortunately it has it's own issues (namely the cut off feet).

Every shot would have worked so much better using either the model posed on, in or around the sporting gear or the athlete posed similarly.  For some reason the mixture of the two looks forced, composited and uncomfortable.

Still a big fan of Leibovits' work and she is a million times the photographer and artist I will ever be.  Sometimes things just don't come together the way you would like them to.

Marius Manastireanu's picture

for annie's level and professionalism, in my honest opinion, this series is really shitty

Melissa Coetzee's picture

Very weird having the supermodel in the shots !

Jacques's picture

Horrible dimensional perspectives on the basketball and the swimming photo.  The cover photo's processing on the faces also make them look twisted a bit and unnatural.  Not sure why the tennis players photo is like that, what does it mean, does the woman hold their balls or what?

Nice idea though of the cover photo

Kim Bruesch's picture

Nice photos...bad photoshop...

Michael Duschl's picture

Annie took beautiful photos, as always. 

Charles Muhle's picture

With the exception of the first shot the rest are heavy handed. 

Attila Hajdu's picture

Before anything else, I am a huge fan of her work. Well, I'm certainly not a master, but I think I (or any other real photography enthusiast) could produce at leaset the same shots, or come up with even better ideas.

It looks like she hasn't got time to think everything through...

Robert Potter's picture

I must say for someone of Annie's level the composites do seem to be very odd. I sometimes believe big magazines like Vogue are afraid to say no to work produced by a well known photographer. We are all entitled to have an off day now and then even those at the top end.

Deleted Account's picture

I see disconnection between photographer and art director. Annie Leibovitz does her job, takes the check and lives rest to retouchers and art directors.
To prove my point. They put model on basket and then mask everything out and recompose it. Why didn't they shot that in studio in save environment?
They go to beautiful beach with palm trees behind and shallow water and then they replace background...
I feel like in the day when I found out that Santa doesn't exist... ;(

Simon Whitehead's picture

The underwater comp is horrible horrible. She looks distorted, out of proportion and, er, not underwater. The basketball comp is ridiculous - where's he aiming the ball exactly? Really really poor compositing work

Ghiou.... That's ugly o__O
Really strage 'cause Annie Leibovitz is a really good photographer !
But, the basketball & underwater composites just makes me LOL !

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

Really, I don't like any of them. They appear to be something that was thought up between high school students and done after school as a photo essay just to complete a class. Very unimpressive.

billy tidwell's picture

in the first bts photo what is that clear reflector? I don't think ive seen that before 

Nic Cage's Hair's picture

The photos are all flat looking- nothing pops in these photos. Looks like they were shot on a dreary rainy day. You'd never know any of these were a  Leibovitz photo if you didn't already know it.

Michael Errey's picture

Not a fan of this series... composites of athletes with a supermodel just didn't make sense.

I'm a fan of A.L., but these are lame attempts. Maybe it was what the magazine was asking for and she just delivered on the request. Definitely looks like she wasn't 'in the game' on that day(s).

Martinvh's picture

As far as I can see, all the photography are technicly good, as not perfect.
These Photo's are f*cked up in PP if you ask me,...

Just look at the basketball, tennis and swim photo's,... cutting off the toes like that, and then the composing job done on the basketball one,.. or the shoe lace on the tennis one,...

Caitlyn Chapman's picture

I am speechless. Annie clearly took good photos initially, but who decided it was a good idea to make shitty composites? It was a cool concept but I think with a photographer like AL, it could have been executed differently to more amazing results I'm sure. These are absolutely tragic considering the caliber of photog, publication, and subject matter!

ReallyGettaGrip's picture

All due respect to Annie, these are not great shots by any means; not great for any pro and definitely not for her.  I think sports (or perhaps the requirement to mix in Karlie) is out of her comfort zone, I don't care for the lighting, the composition, the colors....none of it works for a Vogue shoot, especially coming from Annie.  Almost everything she shoots now is composite, the entire Louis Vuitton campaign etc.; so surprising for someone of her talent level.