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Her final pieces were very good, and she continued to pursue her love for photography when her family was relocated back to Silver Spring, Maryland. She was attending Northwood High School at the time, and her love for photography inspired to look into the arts in general. At this time she began to write and play music, paint, and draw, but she had left photography behind.

LIFE THROUGH A LENS Anna Lou “Annie” Leibovitz is one of the best-known American portrait photographer. She is best known for her worldknown photograph of John Lennon along with Yoko Ono which was actually taken the day Lennon was killed. Her photographs are also known for being on the cover of Joan Armatrading, and she was the first woman to hold an exhibition at the London’s National Portrait Gallery. Annie Leibovitz was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on October 2, 1949. She was one of six children, and her parents, Marilyn Edith and Samuel Leibovitz were Romanian-Jews. They were very religious, which reflects on her mother, Marilyn, who was a dance instructor of Estonian-Jewish heritage. On the other hand, her father was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Because of her father’s demanding job, Liebovitz and her family were frequently being relocated to different countries. Leibovitz started to have an interest in photography since she was young, and she took her first pictures when the family was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War.

Uma Thurman 2001

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Adele 2012

She was really intrigued with painting, and she liked it so much she decided to attend the San Francisco Art Institute to major in the subject. In her sophomore year of college she took a trip with her mother to Japan, where she rediscovered her interest in taking photographs. Although she only considered this a hobby, that stopped when she decided to take the plunge and start taking night classes on photography. During her learning experience, Leibovitz was inspired by various photographers, such as Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She has also said how Richard Avedon’s portraits are a not only a big influence on her images but they are a powerful and important example in her life. She continued to refine her skills along with her career and holding various jobs for many years. Her portfolio started to grow when was a kibbutz volunteer in Amir, Israel, as this benefited on the large assortment of places she photographed. After having a lot of experience with the camera, Leibovitz approached Jann Wenner, the founding editor of the Rolling Stone, which he had actually recently introduced to the San Francisco area. Wenner was astounded with her portfolio, which included an image of counter-culture icon Allen Ginsberg, and decided to give Leibovitz her first photography-related job as a staff photographer. Although this was her first job at this, her first assignment was definitely not a light one, as she was asked to photograph John Lennon. She beautifully captured his shaggy essence on a black and

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ROLLING STONE

white portrait that was actually the cover of the magazine on January 21, 1971. She continued to hold the same job at the Rolling Stone until two years later, when publisher Jan Wenner named 23-year old Leibovitz chief photographer, a title she held for 10 years. It was during this time when she realized that although she was working for a magazine, she could still create personal work, which for her was the most important. She was interested in creating a bond with whoever was being photographed, and sought intimate moments that could be read as opening their souls and lives, even through a piece of paper. Because of her aesthetic, she defined the Rolling Stone look through her intimate pictures with celebrities. She truly enjoyed working on the magazine, especially since her title brought her amazing opportunities to network and meet people. After Leibovitz the tour, she continued to work and decided to change her style into what would become her trademark technique. The Rolling Stone had finally started to print color, and this gave her the opportunity to expand her horizons and enabled her to be more creative. However, this was not only good news, as she had to teach herself how to use color. When she was taking classes back at the Art Institute, they didn’t have this technology, and therefore only taught her what was relevant at this time. This included learning lighting techniques that would make color look best, and carefully selecting a color palette, contrast, brightness, and saturation, among other things. She started to experiment different techniques, and among her first subjects were Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and Patti Smith. In a photoshoot with Bette Midler, she decided to experiment with using bold primary colors and made her do surprising and unexpected poses. Not only did these photographs gain so much attention, but Leibovitz really enjoyed creating them, and of course the end result. She was inspired by the cover of the rock music film The Rose, where Bette Midler starred and was shown holding

Susan Sarandon 2010

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a rose with her mouth. Leibovitz liked the rose motif, but instead of using only one, she used hundreds to cover Midler’s body. The colors in the image are very saturated and bright, which was something very eye catching since people were only used to seeing black and white pictures at the time. This drove Leibovitz to continue to create bright colors on photographs, and this became her signature technique. Leibovitz was mainly influenced during her time at San Francisco Art Institute by photographers like Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She has also cited Richard Avedon’s portraits as an important and powerful example in her life.

M E R In 1978 Leibovitz became the first woman to photograph Joan Armatrading for an album. She did the photography for Armatrading’s fifth studio album To the Limit, spending four days at her house capturing the images. She also did the photography for Armatrading’s live album, Steppin’ Out. Two years later, Leibovitz had a photo shoot with John Lennon for Rolling Stone, and she promised him he would make the cover. She had initially tried to get a picture with just Lennon alone, as Rolling Stone wanted, but Lennon insisted that both he and Yoko Ono must be on the cover. Leibovitz then tried to re-create something like the kissing scene from the couple’s Double Fantasy 1980 album cover, a picture Leibovitz loved, and she had John remove his clothes and curl up next to Yoko on the floor.

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Leibovitz recalls, “What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’—not really preconceiving the picture at all. Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that she was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, “You’ve captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it’ll be on the cover.” I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.” Leibovitz was the last person to professionally photograph Lennon—he was shot and killed five hours later. The photograph was subsequently re-created in 2009 by John and Yoko’s son Sean Lennon.

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Other projects of her include a new position in Vanity Fair magazine, which she obtain thanks to her new style of lighting and use of bold colors. Also, Leibovitz photographed celebrities for an international advertising campaign for American Express charge cards, which won a Clio award. In 1991, Leibovitz mounted an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. She was the second living portraitist and first woman to show there. That same year Leibovitz had been made Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Later on Leibovitz emulated Margaret Bourke-White’s feat by mounting one of the eagle gargoyles on the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building in Manhattan, where she photographed the dancer David Parsons cavorting on another eagle gargoyle, Noted Life photographer and picture editor John Loengard made a gripping photo of Leibovitz at the climax of her danger, he was photographing Leibovitz for The New York Times that day.

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ACHIEVE MENTS

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In 2007, major retrospective of Leibovitz’s work was held at the Brooklyn Museum, The retrospective was based on her book, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990– 2005 and included many of her professional (celebrity) photographs as well as numerous personal photographs of her family, children, and partner Susan Sontag. This show, which was expanded to include three of the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, then went on the road for seven stops. It was on display

at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington,

Natalie Portman 2017

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D.C., from October 2007 to January 2008 and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from March 2008 to May 2008. In February 2009, the exhibition was moved to Berlin. The show included 200 photographs. At the exhibition, Leibovitz showed that she doesn’t have two lives, career and personal, but has one where assignments and personal pictures are all part of her works. This exhibition and her talk focused on her personal photographs and life. Later, The BBC misrepresented Leibovitz’s portrait shooting of Queen Elizabeth II, to take the Queen’s official picture for her state visit to Virginia. This was filmed for the BBC documentary A Year with the Queen. A promotional trailer for the film showed the Queen reacting angrily to Leibovitz’s suggestion, “less dressy”, that she remove her tiara, then a scene of the Queen walking down a corridor, telling an aide “I’m not changing anything. I’ve had enough dressing like this, thank you very much.” The BBC later apologized and admitted that the sequence of events had been misrepresented, as the Queen was in fact walking to the sitting in the second scene. This led to a BBC scandal and a shake-up of ethics training. However a 2015 London Times article published just ahead of the Queen’s reign exceeding that of Queen Victoria contradicts this story. It stated that the Queen was both incredulous at being asked to remove her crown as “no-one tells her what to do” and insulted as the item was only a tiara. An-


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other big accomplishment happened in 2007 when 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. Leibovitz claims she never liked the word “celebrity”. “I’ve always been more interested in what they do than who they are, I hope that my photographs reflect that.” She tries to receive a little piece of each subject’s personality in the photos. Also, a year later, Entertainment Tonight reported that 15-year-old Miley Cyrus had posed topless for a photo shoot with Vanity Fair. The photograph and subsequently released behindthe-scenes photographs show Cyrus topless, her bare back exposed but her front covered with a bedsheet. The photo was taken by Leibovitz. The full photograph was published with an accompanying story on The New York Times’ website on 2008. Later, The New York Times clarified: though the pictures left an impression that she was bare-breasted, Cyrus was wrapped in a bedsheet and was actually not topless. Some parents expressed outrage at the nature of the photograph, which a Disney spokesperson described as “a situation that was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines”. In response to the Internet circulation of the photo and ensuing media attention, Cyrus released a statement of apology on April 27: “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”

More recently, in October 2011, Leibovitz had an exhibit in Moscow. In an interview with Rossiya 24, she explained her photography style. Then in 2014, the New-York Historical Society mounted an exhibit of Leibovitz’s work, based on her 2011 book, Pilgrimages. In 2015, Leibovitz was the principal photographer for the 2016 Pirelli calendar. Leibovitz took a drastic shift from the calendar traditional style by focusing on admirable women as opposed to sexuality. The 2016 calendar included Amy Schumer, Serena Williams and Patti Smith.

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A VERY SUBTLE DIFFERENCE CAN MAKE THE PICTURE OR NOT. Copyright © 2017 by Annie Leibovitz Written by Carolina Turcios and Daniela Cedeño. All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. www.aaknopf.com ISBN 978-0-307-26674-3 Manufactured in the U.S.A. First Edition The text of this catalog was set in Didot for titles, and in Avenir for the body text. The Didot family was created in a period from 1784-1811 by French printer Firmin Didot. Avenir was released in 1988 by Swiss typeface designer Adrian Frutiger. Didot - Regular ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz Avenir - Ultra Light ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz



Portraits