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Special Feature: Rescuing Annie Leibovitz

29th April

by Sara Mrozinski


I don’t want to be the last one caught beating a dead horse, but much remains to be said about the latest Miley Cyrus photo debacle. For those of you who have been living in a media-free hole over the past week (lucky you), one of our most loathed “Plastic Wannabes” Miley Cyrus was recently immortalized by the famed Annie Leibovitz. While I acknowledge that Annie Leibovitz herself has recently become a media mogul of sorts due to her rising popularity among the stars, she remains, without question, the most talented female photographer of our time.

An opportunity not even the densest of airheads would turn down, Miley not only gratefully took the offer to be shot by Leibovitz, but also helped create the shot itself. As seen in footage from the shoot, Miley’s parents and family attended the shoot and agreed on the shots before they were submitted to Vanity Fair. Shortly after the shoot took place Miley was quoted saying “I think it’s really artsy. It wasn’t in a skanky way. Annie took, like, a beautiful shot, and I thought that was really cool.” The question is, what happened between the shoot and press time to cause Miley and her family to completely reject the photos?

Bored conservatives happened. It never occurred to Miley how the mothers and fathers of her major demographic of fans would perceive the photos. This is a group of people so desensitized by the media and dangerous ideologies that openness toward art would never be a possibility. It is no surprise that their responses include degrading statements to Miley’s image and Leibovit’s artistic ability. It is a surprise, however, to read the endless barrage of insults thrown Leibovit’s way from the media. TimesOnline contributor Janice Turner wrote that Leibovitz employed “the trick dirty-old-men artists have employed to seduce vulnerable girls through the ages: she persuaded Miley that the pictures were “artistic”. Artistic? Eew! Is it contagious?


To imply that Annie Leibovitz is some back-alley vaudevillian snapshot pedophilic hustler is grounds for decapitation. It is certain that Leibovitz is in no short supply for money or fame, but is it to be assumed that her shot of Miley Cyrus was deceptively concocted to snatch a dirty pic of the most popular teen in America for unclean reasons? Even more doubtful. Being a photographer myself, I have encountered similar situations with absolutely-not-famous people a few times. It is common to shoot people who are most themselves in front of the lens, but demand removal of shots after the fact when the reaction of others comes into play. It is hard for people to allow their innermost being to be displayed for others to see willingly.

But the act of demanding retraction of harmless photos shows low self-esteem and immaturity at its most volatile level. This is clear in Miley’s reaction, and it’s hers that matters most: “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”

What she really never intended to happen was to lose money or to be threatened by Disney to lose her brain-draining show, and that is what she deeply cares about. Most disturbingly, her reaction shows her age. Miley is a 15 year old with more money and power than all ofmiddle America combined. Will Miley Cyrus’s sheepish immaturity and her culturally-bubbled right-winging posse finally tarnish America’s most beloved photographer’s reputation? Probably not, but it is certain this “dead horse” won’t be laid to rest until every visionless conservative tool has had their say.