Annie Leibovitz Accused Of Racism After Legendary Photographer Is Accused Of Repeatedly Failing to ‘properly’ Expose Black Female Subjects After Vague Vogue Portrait of SCOTUS Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
- Leibovitz proudly shared her two photos of the Supreme Court justice on Twitter this week after they were published on Vogue’s website.
- She was immediately inundated with complaints about how dark they were
- Some have repeatedly accused her of failing to illuminate black stars ‘properly’
- They compared the images with other poorly lit Leibovitz photos of Simone Biles and Viola Davis
- Leibovitz’s dark and moody style is well known and it was also the way she mounted portraits of the Queen and the Royal Family
Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz has gotten into a racism spat with critics of her dimly lit Vogue portrait of Ketanji Brown Jackson, claiming it shows she’s repeatedly failed to “properly” expose black stars.
Leibovitz proudly shared her two photos of the Supreme Court justice on Twitter this week after they were published on Vogue’s website.
She was immediately inundated with complaints from critics saying she didn’t photograph Ketanji’s skin properly, but made her look too “dark.”
Some have pointed to her past portrayals of other black stars and public figures, saying she has a poor record of showing them off at their best.
Annie Leibovitz’s portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sparked controversy this week, with some accusing her of failing to adequately lighten KBJ’s black skin.
Leibovitz proudly shared the photos on Twitter this week after they were published in online Vogue
Criticism of the photo was immediate on Twitter and by Friday, The Daily Beast also condemned the portraits
The Daily Beast posted a piece from its Race & Identity Reporter today with the headline, “Where did Vogue go so wrong with its ‘historic’ Ketanji Brown Jackson Pic?”
Others criticized Leibovitz on Twitter.
“You just refuse to light up dark-skinned black women, don’t you?” asked one critic.
“All the resources in the world and so little attention paid to lightening darker skin tones,” said another.
“It’s a pattern,” another said furiously, sharing links to Leibovitz’s portraits of Simone Biles for another shoot.
Others said they “quickly fixed” the images themselves with a quick round of smartphone retouching to lighten them.
The Daily Beast quoted black photographers as saying they respected Leibovitz but that a black photographer should have gotten the job because.
Others said Leibovitz had a pattern of not properly exposing black female subjects
They used photos of black women lit up brighter to show how they think Leibovitz had ‘failed’
‘For a magazine like Vogue and other top magazines… it would be nice to [use] a black photographer. There are plenty of fantastic, capable black photographers out there.”
However, fans of Leibovitz pointed out that her portrait of KBJ was no different from countless other dark, moody photographs in which the subject or subjects are white.
She used a similar style of editing in her photos of Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family, and when she photographed Scarlett Johannsen for Vanity Fair in 2005.
Some also pointed out that Leibovitz would have inevitably been skewered for lightening KBJ’s skin and would have been accused of whitewashing if she made the images brighter or fairer.
Similarly, flat light can be seen in Leibovitz’ portrait of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 2016
She has applied a dark, moody edit to photos for years. Above, Scarlett Johansson in Vanity Fair in 2005
The photographer did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment on Friday. Vogue has not responded.
The magazine has long been dogged by accusations of racism.
In September 2020, Anna Wintour sent an email to staff saying, “I want to make it clear that I know that Vogue hasn’t found enough ways to elevate and empower black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. ‘
It was at the height of the BLM movement, when companies across America went to great lengths to avoid any accusation of racism.
Leibovitz with head of Vogue Anna Wintour