Queen Elizabeth by Annie Leibowitz

BRITAIN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Famous celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz took the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II in March 2007. One of the photos, shown below, shows a very serene Queen sitting in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace dressed in a pale gold evening dress, fur stole, and diamond tiara. Inspired by the portrait of Queen Charlotte that hangs in the National Gallery, the wide shot captures the Queen gazing towards a large open window and reveals some of the room’s furnishings and a reflection of a chandelier in a mirror. The room is dark except for the soft light flooding through the open window.

The photo-shoot was going smoothly until Leibowitz asked the Queen to take off her tiara (crown) to look “less dressy” for the next photo. The Queen flew into a huff and replied: “Less dressy? What do you think this is?” Contrary to some press accounts, Queen Elizabeth did not storm out of her session with Leibovitz; she more or less stormed in, brisk and impatient–the queen never enjoyed being photographed in her robes of state.

One of the most famous Leibowitz photos with Her Majesty in a huge cape against a wintry landscape, looks rather like the ultimate American Express ad or as some critics call it, vampiric. As it happens, it was a composite image: trees in the picture were shot on a Tuesday. The Queen, disinclined to go outdoors, was shot the next day.

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