Best known for her dramatic celebrity portraits, Annie Leibovitz’s photography will very quickly lead your eyes on a journey of storytelling, fantasy and epic still-life adventure. Adept at capturing the personality and inner-life of her subjects, her images reflect engaging stories of intimate and playful expression and her own artistic voice.
Starting her first gig as a staff photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine in 1970, her intimate photographs of celebrities helped define the ‘Rolling Stone’ look. During her 10 years with the magazine she captured iconic portraits of some of the biggest rock stars of our generation.
(Side note: how incredibly cool would it have been to her in that era!!!)
She later became a photographer for Vanity Fair where she developed her staged and brightly lit photographic style. Think iconic image of Cindy Crawford and K.D. Lang.
Here’s all you need to know about Annie Leibovitz:
- She was 3rd generation American, born to Jewish parents. Leibovitz passion for art was born out of her mother’s engagement with dance, music, and painting.
- She took her first pictures when her father was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. She took photographs around the military base and of nearby locals.
- She started off studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute before moving into a photography major and then pursued a career in photography.
- She served as the concert-tour photographer for the Rolling Stones’ Tour of the Americas ’75, her favourite picture being the one of Mick Jagger in an elevator. (Side note: Mick Jagger. In an elevator.)
- She became the first female chief photographer at Rolling Stone magazine.
- In 1987, she won a Clio award for a celebrity shoot that she conducted for an American Express charge cards campaign.
- She dangerously mounted one of the eagle gargoyles on the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan, to photograph the dancer David Parsons cavorting on another eagle gargoyle. (Side note: Gutsy lady.)
- In 2007, The Walt Disney Company hired her to do a series of photographs with celebrities in various roles and scenes for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign.
- In 2008, she had 15 year old Miley Cyrus pose topless for a shoot with Vanity fair. (Side note: I think she was ahead of her time. Miley likes showing off her assets.)
- She was nominated for the Asia Pacific Photographer of the year award in 2011.
- Her 2018 cover photo for Vanity Fair was criticised online for image manipulation that appeared to show Reese Witherspoon with three legs. Turns out photo manipulation isn’t always a good idea…
- She quotes: “I no longer believe that there is such a thing as objectivity. Everyone has a point of view. Some people call it style, but what we’re really talking about is the guts of a photograph. When you trust your point of view, that’s when you start taking pictures.”
- She loves taking photos of her family stating: “You don’t get the opportunity to do this kind of intimate work except with the people you love, the people who will put up with you. They’re the people who open their hearts and souls and lives to you. You must take care of them.”
- She did a portrait shooting of Queen Elizabeth II, that then got misrepresented by the BBC and it led to quite a scandal. (Side note: Doing anything with the Royal Family can lead to a scandal.)
- Have a look at her work… you’ll get lost for hours like I did.
Image courtesy of: Annie Leibovitz’s Facebook Profile