Photo Editor: ‘You Point A Camera at Anybody and They Start to Take Their Clothes Off’

mileycyrus2.jpgPoor Miley Cyrus. What was she thinking, posing topless for Vanity Fair? We asked Rob Haggart, who writes the spot-on A Photo Editor blog (and also worked as director of photography for Men’s Journal and Outside, for his thoughts.

When big name photographers (read: Annie Leibowitz) shoot pictures for big name magazines (read: Vanity Fair), “the subjects let [the photographers] do whatever they want… and it’s a mistake,” he said. “Nobody say no [to the photographers] and they aren’t making good pictures.”

He continued: “[Cyrus’] going into the shoot thinking, ‘I have to do what [Leibowitz] says or else I’m not going to be in Vanity Fair.”

Fair enough, but why did Cyrus end up topless? “You point a camera at anybody and they start to take their clothes off,” the photo editor said. “Look at the Tom Ford cover,” which we agreed was the only VF cover we remember from the past year.

And what about Annie Leibowitz and her recent tendency to create controversy?

“I think [Leibowitz’s] unaware of what she’s doing with [her subjects],” he said. “She doesn’t know who this person is or their place in popular culture. She’s too busy to spend the kind of time that she would have spent in the past… putting the person into the picture. [Leibowitz] is spending less time trying to make a picture for the subject and more time trying to make one for the magazine or for her own body of work that references a painting or an image.”