Burnaby – Acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz has captured unforgettable portraits of some of the world’s most well-known personalities, from Mikhail Baryshnikov and Brad Pitt to U.S. President Barack Obama. Premiering on Thursday, April 16 at 10 p.m., the illuminating biography Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens is showcased on Knowledge Network’s newest themed timeslot, “Aperture”. Airing every Thursday at 10 p.m., “Aperture” is a meditation on the compelling power of photography as an art form, and the emotionally-moving views of life – and death – as seen though the camera lens.
Through her work for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue, Annie Leibovitz has produced some of the most iconic images of the last 30 years. While masterful at exposing her photographic subjects, Annie’s own life has been fiercely guarded. In Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens, Annie’s younger sibling, Barbara Leibovitz, turns the camera on her sister. Annie lays bare her artistic process, bringing viewers into her personal journey and the delicate balance she maintains between fame and family. This portrait is an intimate and inspiring look at a woman who has become as iconic as the people she photographs.
The work of another of the world’s pre-eminent photographers is explored on “Aperture” when What Remains premieres on Thursday, April 23 at 10 p.m. Sally Mann is renowned for creating extraordinary artwork that challenges viewers’ values and moral attitudes. She first came to international prominence in 1992 when her enigmatic and provocative photos of her own young children sparked controversy. What Remains examines Mann’s new seminal work: a series of photographs revolving around various aspects of death and decay. As Mann reflects on her own feelings toward death, she continues to examine the boundaries of contemporary photography. Spanning five years and featuring unbridled access to the many stages of her work, this documentary chronicles Mann’s artistic process, providing a rare glimpse of an eloquent and brilliant artist.
Tina Modotti was a revolutionary, a bohemian spirit and a photographer best known for her innovative and impassioned depiction of social issues. Premiering on Thursday, May 21 at 10 p.m., the sensuously-crafted Tina in Mexico explores Modotti’s art and activism. In the 1920s, Modotti and photographer Edward Weston – with whom she had a passionate affair – were drawn to Mexico where they joined contemporaries such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. This documentary is a beautifully-rendered exploration of the Mexican revolution through the eyes of a political activist and artist. Canadian filmmaker Brenda Longfellow interweaves archival footage, luminous photographs, and lyrical re-enactments to provide an elegant look at Modotti’s passions and creative vision during this tumultuous time in Mexico.
Premiering on Thursday, June 4 at 10 p.m., Eugène and Berenice: Pioneers of Urban Photography examines the work of Eugène Atget and Berenice Abbott, artists who created two of the greatest documents of urban photography in the history of art. Eugène Atget is considered a father of modern photography, embracing realism and pushing the camera to its full potential with his images of Paris. Atget’s work would have been lost to the world if not for American photographer Berenice Abbott, who met Atget in 1926. Atget was nearing the end of his life, and Abbott’s career was just beginning. She recognized Atget’s genius and took his approaches to photography to new heights in her exposé of New York City in the 1930s. Featuring the work of Atget and Abbott, as well as archival film and interviews, this documentary is an inspiring tribute to their joint achievements and the cities that inspired them.
The debut season of “Aperture” also features these captivating programs:
Fixing the Shadows – Thursday, March 5 at 10 p.m – This episode tells the story of the inventions of photography and the way it became an integral part of the modern world.
Documents for Artists – Thursday, March 12 at 10 p.m. – Following WWI, photography was the central medium of its time. In this episode, we examine the work of some of the greatest and most influential modern photographers.
Right Place, Right Time? Thursday, March 19 at 10 p.m. – Set against the backdrop of WWII and its aftermath, this episode examines how photographers dealt with dramatic and tragic events like D-Day and the Holocaust.
Paper Movies – Thursday, March 26 at 10 p.m. The three decades from the late 1950s onwards was the real golden age of photographic journeys. This episode relives the journey that produced some of the greatest “paper movies” ever.
We Are Family – Thursday, April 2 at 10 p.m. – Having conquered the street and the road, photographers approach the final frontier: the home, the self, and private life. We examine the pictures that photographers take of themselves and of other individuals.
Snap Judgements – Thursday, April 10 at 10p.m. – The final episode of this series asks what a photograph is worth these days. We also look at the impact of digital post-production techniques that make anything possible, and the rediscovery of techniques that are taking photography back to the 19th century
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye – Thursday, April 30 at 10 p.m. – Henri Cartier-Bresson is considered to be the greatest photographer of the last century. In this evocative documentary, interviews with Cartier-Bresson himself, Isabelle Huppert, Arthur Miller and other cultural luminaries are woven into a fascinating portrait of a photographer who quietly shaped the field of photojournalism. Focusing on his career from the 1940s to the 1960s, the film features memorable images of Marilyn Monroe, Henri Matisse, the liberation of Paris and the death of Gandhi.
The Many Faces of Arnaud Maggs – Thursday, May 7 at 10 p.m. – Internationally-acclaimed photographer Arnaud Maggs is best known for detailed, grid-like portrait studies that betray a stark intimacy. Nearing his eighties, Maggs touches on the motivation of his own mortality, an inevitability that keeps him working to consolidate his massive body of work and to search for fresh ideas. This lovingly-crafted film reveals Maggs’ meticulous approach to his work, and how his art speaks of the human experience and the subtleties of each moment.
The True Meaning of Pictures – Thursday, May 14 at 10 p.m. – Renowned photographer Shelby Lee Adams has devoted 30 years of his life to creating raw and compelling portraits of families living in Appalachia in eastern Kentucky – people who are often derogatorily referred to as “hillbillies.” Through interviews and archival footage, this documentary provides thoughtful insight into both Adams and the people who stand in front of the cameras, creating a provocative look at the nature of photography and the meaning of art itself. Winner of Gemini Awards in 2003 for Best Arts Documentary and Best Direction in a Documentary Program.
Girl in a Mirror – Thursday, June 11 at 10 p.m. – The photographs of Carol Jerrems embody the seventies in Australia, a decade defined by its challenges to convention, morality and social order. With extraordinary discipline and determination, Jerrems documented the world around her with a relentless and uncompromising honesty. The haunting quality of her work is heightened by the tragedy of her early death, at the age of 30, in 1980. This documentary explores the unique power and beauty of her images.
Ted Grant: The Art of Observation – Thursday, June 25 at 10 p.m. – Ted Grant was one of the pioneers of Canadian photojournalism, capturing memorable images of Pierre Trudeau gleefully sliding down a banister, and Ben Johnson winning at the Seoul Olympics. This hour-long documentary explores Grant’s remarkable 55-year career, his contributions to photojournalism, his approach to his craft, and how he helped Canadians define a sense of place and self.