Yesterday, we’ve been to the exhibition 2005 World Press Photo in Berlin. Amazing pictures, very moving — sometimes you rather want to look away, sometimes you seem petrified by the eyes of a portrait staring at you…

Surprisingly, I and also a friend of mine were most deeply touched by photos of the bereaved of U.S. soldiers who had died in Iraq. There were many other pictures showing more cruel scenes, actually a lot of blood and tortured bodies, or ‘third world’ victims of earthquakes, wars, and hunger — I was wondering, whether even a press photo doesn’t have to show ‘it all’ to be most effective, or if we Europeans are just emotionally closer to the U.S. than to African or Asian countries.

World Press Photo of the Year 2005A postcript to the exhibition: It was shown in a shopping mall at Potsdamer Platz — weird , but also a good place to reach as many people as possible. These pictures really made you stop for a minute, watch them, and made you feel bad about going shopping… well, if that’s not something!

… is a project by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz, resulting in a great book and exhibition. Now 68 of these incredible portraits of American musicians are shown at c|o Berlin gallery.

Annie Leibovitz: American Music Last Sunday I’ve been visiting the exhibition and was blown away! I’ve seen many of Annie Leibovitz’ great pictures before (some are shown here again) and admired here book project Women a few years before. American Music, of course is exactly ‘my business’… a journey from its roots of (Delta Blues, New Orleans Jazz, Bluegrass, and Country Music) over Rock music to Hip Hop.

While standing in front of these photographies, you really can hear the music — and this is not a cliche (would have been nice if the gallerist provided some sound samples, though) — since Leibovitz was trying to capture the artists music and personality in this one picture. Some of them may touch stereotypes, but these artist are ‘types’ and icons themselves, right. When I see Tom Waits among his odd instruments or Lyle Lovett in black and white on a front porch, that’s exactly how I’ve imagined them.

The best idea of this exhibition was to provide comments of Annie Leibovitz to the pictures: you get a litte mp3 player and you can hear her explain the story behind every picture! (I also like this best about DVDs: watching the movie with the director’s comments.) This adds so much to the experience, since you get a glimpse into the artists method and idea of photography. Although some pictures appear like (great) snaphots and are very natural, the setting is deliberately chosen in advance. She is trying to make the musicians comfortable (not a sterile studio) and also to capture an essential part of their selves, she’s taking Dr. John fishing or or takes a picture of Johnny Cash with his family on Maybelle Carter’s front porch.

The exhibition is shown in Berlin until April 2nd, and might come to your town too…

Here’s a very nice preview of 27 photographs from Andrews Smith’s Gallery.