Wizard of Oz photo shoot with Keira Knightley


Thoughts and observations inspired by pictorial constructions of renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.

No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home. – L Frank Baum

In the year 1900, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz offered society a metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America in the 1890s, in the guise of a modern American fairy tale. In 1939, Baum’s story was turned into an award winning fantasy flick by director Victor Fleming. Dorothy, the story’s protagonist and film’s star role was cast as Judy Garland who successfully warbled her way into viewers’ hearts with a romantic rendition of Over the Rainbow and other such sappy sentiment. Fleming’s film interprets Dorothy’s journey through Oz as a dream – a vastly different scenario to the one painted in Baum’s novel, which imagined Oz as a real place rather than a dream-sequence cliché that comes to an end in the morning. It is Baum’s assimilation of the real and the fantastical makes the novel so successful an allegory.

The spirit of Baum’s Oz is usually undermined by pop culture’s obsession with glitzy red shoes (which are undeniably cool), checked dresses and pigtails. Those policing the corruption of all things literary have correctly ignored the enfeeblement of Baum’s Oz because creative license is a right to which popular culture is unequivocally entitled; when art thrusts itself into the world, it gives itself up to the mercy of reinterpretation. And Vogue magazine, with the help of the multi-talented Annie Leibovitz, did exactly that. In a 20-page photo shoot featuring the high-fashion pouts and poses of Keira Knightley Leibovitz appropriates Baum’s creative essence, the result of which is a series of photographic stills that resonate a daydreamy allure accentuated with stylish glamour, pop culture attitude and photo realism.

Below are ten of the pics featured in the Vogue shoot. Enjoy!