Inspiration of Annie Leibowitz and Awol Erizku

Demi Moore’s pregnancy photos taken by Annie Leibowitz’s for Vanity Fair Magazine in 1991, sparked worldwide controversy becoming one of the most influential photos of all time. The photo portrayed Demi in all of her nude glory posed in a side profile covering her left breast and supporting her baby bump. The photo appeared to be front lit creating shadows around the subject standing against a plain grey background and looking off camera. Leibowitz went into the shoot with the concept being “glamorous and sexy” photographing Moore in an array of couture gowns and jewelry, only taking the nude photos towards the end of the shoot. The photos were originally only intended for Moore’s family as she had done with her first pregnancy. Leibowitz joked that the nudes would “make a good cover” but never expected it to be the final pick. She believed her best work was actually featured inside of the magazine, but the cover seemed to outshine them all. The photo stirred up a huge controversy with some people loving the portrayal of motherhood and the idea of being sexy while pregnant but some found the photo pornographic or indecent. Overall, the photo bought ideas of female nudity and pregnancy out of the closet to be more widely accepted by the public.

In 2017, Beyonce’s pregnancy photos by Awol Erizku drew widespread interest gaining The Guinness Book of World Records title for most liked photo on Instagram within 8 hours. In the photo, similar to Demi Moore’s Beyonce is posed in a side profile supporting her pregnant belly. She is looking into the camera partially clothed, wearing a greenish veil, in a kneeling position, set against a deep blue background and in the middle of a wall of flowers. The photo appears to be evenly lit probably using both a main and fill light cropped comfortably around the subject. Erizku was inspired by classical artworks like Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus also focusing on color and composition. He utilized flower arrangements and re-purposed items throughout the whole series photographing Beyonce, her husband Jay-Z and their first child Blue Ivy.

One thought on “Inspiration of Annie Leibowitz and Awol Erizku

  1. rmichals

    The two photographers strategies are different. Erizku uses composition, color and props to make the photo interesting while Leibowitz uses the light and the pose.

    Just note if the light is even, what we call a 1:1 lighting ration, we can’t really talk about the main and the fill light. Both lights are identical.


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